Retrial sniper may have to sell home

An SAS sniper accused of illegally possessing a gun and ammunition is facing losing his family home as he struggles to fund a two-week retrial.

Danny Nightingale
Danny Nightingale

Sgt Danny Nightingale said despite generous public donations, he and his wife are considering selling their family home to finance the retrial, due to start next week.

The 38-year-old, who has been recommended for medical discharge, is due to face a retrial over the alleged illegal possession of a pistol and ammunition after a previous conviction was quashed by Court of Appeal judges.

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A fundraising appeal has been started to raise cash for Sgt Nightingale to fight his case, due to start on July 1, but yesterday the father-of-two said the fact the case is now listed for two weeks rather than two days has raised his defence costs significantly and left him facing the prospect of selling their home.

He said: “As a result of the Service Prosecuting Authority’s (SPA) decision to have a retrial and the fact this is now listed for two weeks, the costs of my defence team have escalated significantly placing a considerable pressure on the family.

“Despite the family using everything they have and some generous public donations, it now looks like we may have to sell our home to finance the trial.

“This is obviously deeply worrying for us all, particularly as this is already understandably an extremely anxious time.”

Sgt Nightingale, from Crewe, Cheshire, has pleaded not guilty to the two charges.

He has argued that the pistol and ammunition were brought back to the UK from Iraq by colleagues, after he had had to return at short notice with the bodies of two fellow soldiers.

His original imprisonment sparked a public outcry and campaign, led by wife Sally, which led to the conviction being quashed on appeal.

Sgt Nightingale’s lawyer Simon McKay said he was working to help the Nightingales find a solution to the costs prompted by a retrial.

“The SPA has outsourced the trial to external lawyers and as a sergeant in the army facing medical discharge Danny obviously does not have their resources,” he said.

“The case was originally listed for two days but is now scheduled for two weeks which gives some idea of the substantial additional work involved.”