East Lancs killer should not have been sent out to Iraq

Burnley and Pendle Citizen: Ex-soldier Danny Fitzsimons is serving a 20-year sentence Ex-soldier Danny Fitzsimons is serving a 20-year sentence

AN investigation into the murder to two security contractors in Iraq by a former soldier from Rossendale has claimed he was not properly vetted.

Danny Fitzsimons, from Whitworth, was 29 when he shot dead Paul McGuigan and Darren Hoare during a confrontation in the ‘green zone’ in Baghdad in August 2009.

The former Royal Fusilier and ex-paratrooper is currently serving a 20-year jail term after being convicted of their killings in February 2011 — after avoiding the death penalty.

Now an investigation by BBC Scotland's new current affairs series, Scotland 2014, has alleged that Fitzsimons, who worked for ArmorGroup, a subsidiary of G4S, should never have been sent out to Iraq.

His father Eric and stepmother Liz Fitsimons have always insisted that their son was suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder.

Fitzsimons was on bail for a firearms offence after it was alleged he had pulled on weapon on children near his home.

And the BBC inquiry has disclosed that a ‘compliance form’ shows that it had not been ‘checked’ or ‘signed off’.

Two separate audits are said to have been carried out by G4S in March 2009, which showed that ‘only basic disclosure of criminal records’ took place, ‘a number of personnel files did not include criminal records checks’.

In Fitzsimon’s case it is alleged the application form was not completed, there were no military references covering his time not working for the company, and a criminal records bureau certificate had not been obtained.

In the BBC programme Corinne Boyd-Russell, Mr McGuigan’s mother, blamed G4S for his death and said: “Why would you put guns into the hands of men who hadn't been vetted properly or screened properly? Why do that?”

“It’s not right, you just shouldn't do that. If they had implemented their processes my son would be alive today. My son would have a life. We would have a life.”

Her stance has been supported by Fitzsimon’s family, who also believe he should never have been sent to Iraq.

Liz Fitzsimons added: “He wasn't passed on even 50 per debt. It was less than 50 per cent.

“No completed application form, no evidence on file to confirm it was checked, and yet they have repeatedly, repeatedly blamed Danny.

“The sign-off of file…wasn't done. So he never should have gone, should he? Never should have gone.”

Later this year an inquest into Mr McGuigan’s death is due to take place and G4S has declined to comment ahead of that hearing.

The families have called for a public inquiry into the deaths.

click2find

About cookies

We want you to enjoy your visit to our website. That's why we use cookies to enhance your experience. By staying on our website you agree to our use of cookies. Find out more about the cookies we use.

I agree