Soldier who was imprisoned last year after police found similar weapon in his belongings says he had no other pistol
A housemate of the former SAS sniper Danny Nightingale has denied that a Glock pistol found in his friend’s bedroom was in fact his.
The special services soldier, identified only as N, was imprisoned last year after police discovered a similar Glock pistol and ammunition among his belongings at the house in the UK that he shared with Nightingale.
But giving evidence at Nightingale’s court martial, N denied that a pistol found in the sniper’s wardrobe was also his.
The court has previously heard that in initial interviews with police Nightingale said the weapon discovered in his bedroom was a war trophy given to him in Iraq.
But he now claims that someone else may have put the pistol his room, and blames an illness suffered while he was undertaking a jungle endurance challenge for his confusion.
Cross-examined by Nightingale’s barrister, William Clegg QC, N said he had been given the pistol over which he was convicted when he was on a “highly sensitive” mission in 2003. He would not name the country he was in but the court was told it was Iraq. Questioned about who had given him the weapon, he said: “His name escapes me.”
Clegg asked N whether the pistol found in Nightingale’s bedroom was also his. N replied: “No”.
Clegg pressed him: “Are you sure?” To which N replied: “Yep.” He insisted: “I did not have any other pistol.”
Clegg said N would have received a longer sentence if he had admitted having two pistols. N said: “I admitted my crime and took it on the chin. One gun, two guns. As far as I was concerned I was in for a long sentence.”
N told the court martial that he and Nightingale had known each other for 12 or 13 years and were best friends.
They were both serving in Afghanistan in September 2011 when police searched the house they shared in the UK after a tipoff from N’s ex-wife that there was a weapon and ammunition there.
N recalled the moment when he told Nightingale that the police were at the house. “I said: ‘Look mate, I don’t know what is going on. I’m buggered.'”
N explained that a gun and ammunition had been found among his belongings and claimed Nightingale told him: “I’ve got the same, mate.”
The court has heard that more than 300 rounds of ammunition were found under Nightingale’s bed. N said that both he and Nightingale worked as range instructors and habitually stored ammunition at home rather than checking it back into stores. N accepted that it was a lazy – and criminal – practice.
He accepted that there had been a “marked change” in Nightingale after the illness in the jungle in 2009. N said Nightingale had been “agitated and hyper” and sometimes used the wrong words for simple objects. But he said he did not have memory problems over “big topics”.
Earlier, two former special services colleagues of Nightingale and …read more