Calls for release of Crewe SAS hero jailed for possessing ‘war trophy’ pistol
THE wife of an SAS hero jailed for possessing a ‘war trophy’ pistol is calling on Sentinel and This is Staffordshire readers to back calls for his release.
Sergeant Danny Nightingale was sentenced to 18 months by a court martial for illegally possessing the Glock 9mm gun, presented to him by Iraqi soldiers he helped train.
His wife Sally believes the Army has betrayed her husband, who served his country for 17 years, including 11 years with the SAS.
Sally, who lives with Danny and their two young daughters in Hough, near Crewe, fears the family could lose their home due to Danny’s pay being stopped.
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More than 3,000 people have signed an online petition calling for Danny’s release with ex-SAS members Andy McNab and Chris Ryan among his supporters.
Sally hopes the campaign will force Prime Minister David Cameron to intervene.
She said: “We just feel Danny has been let down by the justice system and the military.
“Someone who served their country like Danny did deserves better than this.
“He hasn’t been able to tell me half of the places he’s been, but I know he would have served in all the major war zones. When the pistol was found he’d just come back from Afghanistan.
“Danny loved his job. We’ve joked that if you cut him in half you’d see the regimental symbol.”
Danny was given the pistol by members of Iraqi special forces, who he helped to train in 2007.
Shortly afterwards two of Danny’s friends died in a helicopter crash, and he had to hurriedly return to the UK to arrange their funerals.
Danny’s colleagues packed up his belongings and sent them to him, but he did not realise the items included the pistol. In 2009, he suffered overhydration while taking part in a marathon in Brazil, which led to a three-day coma and ongoing problems with memory loss.
Sally said that when she spoke to her husband after the incident, he could not even remember he had a daughter.
She believes that means it is likely he had completely forgotten about the Glock.
Sally added: “I’ve just told our daughters Daddy is away on service. But it’s difficult because usually when Danny is away, we have time to prepare them.”
Danny’s former commanding officer, Lieutenant Colonel Richard Williams, and three other ex-SAS members have written an open letter to David Cameron calling for his intervention.
They compare his treatment to Muslim cleric Abu Qatada, who has been released on bail after a court ruled he might not get a fair trial if deported to Jordan to face terrorism charges.
They wrote: “We say he is the victim of a shameful travesty of justice and we demand immediate action. Compare this man’s case to that of Abu Qatada and see if it is fair.”
A spokesman for the Ministry of Defence said he was unable to comment on UK special forces.