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  • Scandal-hit G4S ‘was warned not to employ security guard’ before he murdered two colleagues in Iraq

    Danny Fitzsimons, 31, was sentenced to 20 years in 2011 for killing Scot Paul McGuigan, 37, and Australian Darren Hoare, 37, in Baghdad in 2009
    All were working for UK security firm G4S, operating as ArmorGroup
    A BBC probe claims a G4S whistleblower warned them about Fitzsimons’ previous convictions and unstable behaviour before his posting
    G4S claim nobody ever saw the email warnings
    Victims’ families call for G4S to be prosecuted for corporate manslaughter
    It comes a week after it emerged G4S chief Nick Buckles will keep his job despite review finding the firm guilty of ‘mishandling’ its Olympic contract

    Security firm G4S was warned not to employ an armed guard in Iraq days before he murdered two colleagues – one of them an ex-Royal Marine, a new BBC documentary claims.

    Danny Fitzsimons, 31, was sentenced to at least 20 years in 2011 for killing Paul McGuigan, 37, from Peebles in Scotland, and Australian Darren Hoare, also 37, in Baghdad in August 2009.

    All were working for UK security firm G4S, operating as ArmorGroup in the region.

    G4S controversially failed to supply enough staff during the Olympics this summer and was recently handed a £13million Government contract to monitor sex offenders in Scotland.

    BBC Scotland Investigates: Britain’s Private War, to be screened on BBC2 tonight, claims that a G4S whistleblower sent a series of emails to the company in London, warning them about Fitzsimons’ previous convictions and unstable behaviour.

    Signing one email ‘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 email, 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 he had been sacked for punching a client.

    In the documentary, the parents of Paul McGuigan, whose fiancée Nicci Prestage gave birth to his baby daughter in October 2009, call for the company to face criminal charges over the killing.

    In the documentary, Mr McGuigan’s mother 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 emails.

    Fitzsimons’ mother Liz, from Manchester, said: ‘And they still took him out there? They [G4S] need to be taken to task for that.

    ‘The people who we feel are responsible, who we hold responsible for putting that gun in Danny’s hand, are without a shadow of a doubt G4S.’

    Fitzsimons became the first Westerner to be convicted by an Iraqi court since the 2003 U.S.-led invasion when he was convicted in February last year, narrowly escaping the death penalty.

    The former security contractor from Rochdale admitted shooting the men but claimed it was self-defence.

    The men had been out drinking and the other two tried to kill him during an altercation, Fitzsimons said during previous testimony. He also claimed to be suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder.

    A G4S spokesman said: ‘We are aware of the allegation over emails but following an internal IT investigation it is clear that no such emails were received by any employee before the incident.

    ‘We have not been shown any formal documentation which proves Mr Fitzsimons had post-traumatic stress disorder.

    ‘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 September 15 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.’

    Since his conviction G4S has been roundly criticised for its handling of Olympic security arrangements.

    Last week, it emerged G4S chief Nick Buckles will keep his job despite an independent review finding the bungling security firm guilty of ‘mishandling’ its Olympic contract.

    Mr Buckles, whose pay and benefits package was worth £5.3million last year, had been widely expected to lose his lucrative post over the fiasco.

    But instead, two of his deputies will pay the price for the group’s failures during the Games.

    The company’s UK boss David Taylor-Smith and events chief Ian Horseman Sewell have both resigned.

    By Graham Grant

    PUBLISHED: 08:30 GMT, 1 October 2012 | UPDATED: 09:33 GMT, 1 October 2012

    Find this story at 1 October 2012

    Published by Associated Newspapers Ltd

    Part of the Daily Mail, The Mail on Sunday & Metro Media Group
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