Sgt Nightingale, 37, wrote to wife Sally from the Army’s Military Corrective Training Centre to say he was “struggling to come to terms” with his fate.
He said: “I have often written to you from wherever I have served but never thought I’d be writing to you from prison, let alone one in England. “I was prepared for anything when I went on operations. I knew there was always the chance that I might say goodbye and not return. It comes with the job and I accepted that. But of all of the things I thought might happen, I never expected to be locked away by the country I’ve dedicated my life to serving. I still cannot believe what’s happened.”
The SAS sniper is serving 18 months in military detention in Colchester, Essex, for having an illegal pistol, given to him as a souvenir by grateful Iraqis. A campaign led by mum of two Sally, from Crewe, Cheshire, and backed by The Sun is still fighting to have him freed. Sgt Nightingale has said of the campaign: “It is very humbling to know that so many people believe in you and support you.”