G4S were warned about guard just days before he killed, film claims
SECURITY company G4S was sent warnings not to employ an armed guard in Iraq days before he murdered two colleagues, a documentary tonight will claim.
Danny Fitzsimons was sentenced to at least 20 years in 2011 for killing Scot Paul McGuigan and Australian Darren Hoare in Baghdad in August 2009. All were working for UK security firm G4S, which was operating under the name “ArmorGroup” in the region.
BBC Scotland Investigates: Britain’s Private War claims that a G4S whistleblower sent a series of e-mails to the company in London, warning them about Fitzsimons’ previous convictions and unstable behaviour.
Signing one e-mail “a concerned member of the public and father”, the anonymous worker warns G4S: “I am alarmed that he will shortly be allowed to handle a weapon and be exposed to members of the public. I am speaking out because I feel that people should not be put at risk.”
Another e-mail, sent as Fitzsimons was due to start work in Baghdad, says: “Having made you aware of the issues regarding the violent criminal Danny Fitzsimons, it has been noted that you have not taken my advice and still choose to employ him in a position of trust. I have told you that he remains a threat and you have done nothing.”
The programme reports that Fitzsimons had worked as a private security contractor before in Iraq, but had been sacked for punching a client. In the documentary, the parents of Mr McGuigan call for the company to face criminal charges over the killing.
Corinne Boyd-Russell, from Innerleithen, in the Borders, said: “[Fitzsimons] fired the bullets. But the gun was put in his hand by G4S ArmorGroup. They put the gun in that man’s hand. I want G4S to be charged with corporate manslaughter and be held accountable for what they did.”
The parents of Fitzsimons were also shocked to hear about the existence of the e-mails.
A G4S spokesman said: “This was a tragic case and our thoughts remain with the families of both Paul McGuigan and Darren Hoare, who were valued and highly respected employees of the company, and who continue to be sadly missed by their families, colleagues and friends alike.
“We confirmed publicly on 15 September, 2009 that, in this particular case, although there was evidence that Mr Fitzsimons falsified and apparently withheld material information during the recruitment process, his screening was not completed in line with the company’s procedures. Our screening processes should have been better implemented in this situation but it is a matter of speculation what, if any, role this may have played in the incident.
“We received two separate medical documents which certified that Mr Fitzsimons was fit to work in Iraq. It subsequently came to light that the most recent of those documents was forged – we believe, falsified by Mr Fitzsimons.
“Mr Fitzsimons was also found to be mentally fit to stand trial by a court of law and before he was found solely responsible for and convicted of the killing of Paul and Darren. We have not been shown any formal documentation which proves Mr Fitzsimons had post-traumatic stress disorder.
“We are aware of the allegation over e-mails, but, following an internal IT investigation, it is clear that no such e-mails were received by any employee before the incident. It is not for G4S to comment on the appropriateness of any criminal investigation. The company has fully and unconditionally co-operated with inquiries from the police and authorities in both the UK and Iraq at all times.”
G4S fulfilled only 83 per cent of contracted shifts to provide security at the Olympic Games, failing to provide all of the promised 10,400 contracted guards and forcing the government to step in with military personnel. Two directors last week resigned in the wake of an independent review.
• BBC Scotland Investigates: Britain’s Private War will be screened at 9pm tonight on BBC Two Scotland.
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