Former soldier Danny Fitzsimons is facing life imprisonment in Iraq after being convicted of murder. Danny has serious mental health problems as a result of his years of service with the British army, and his work as a private security contractor in Iraq.
Danny had always wanted to join the army. He joined the Royal Fusiliers at the first opportunity, aged just 16, and was sent on his first tour shortly after his 18th birthday. But his experiences of active duty were so traumatic that his mental health deteriorated and he was eventually diagnosed with Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder.
During his first tour to Kosovo his unit began to uncover mass graves and Danny discovered the dismembered body of a child who had delivered the troops bread and whom he had befriended.
Danny then witnessed the death of a close friend when he left that army to work as a private security contractor.
“The truck in front of him in his convoy was hit by an IED. The plastic doors of the truck sealed shut in the heat, and one of his team was shut inside. His friend screamed for Danny to get him out, but Danny could not break the window of the truck as it was bulletproof glass. He was forced to watch his friend burn inside the truck unable to help.”
In May 2008, Danny was diagnosed with Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder. Despite this he was hired by Armour Group and sent back to Iraq.
This despite Human Resources Director, Christopher Beese stating in September 2004:
“It seems extraordinary that the doorman of a night club […] may have to be vetted and licensed while the same man can be equipped with a rifle, an armoured vehicle and be engaged to protect diamond concessions for a foreign regime in a clear breach of the public interest and perhaps even in contravention of human rights [but he] needs no such regulation.”
Within 36 hours of his arrival, the incident took place which saw Danny’s colleagues Paul McGuigan and Darren Hoare die.
Armour Group was taken over by G4S which tried to wash its hands of Danny. They offered a payment of $75,000 towards his legal fees, nowhere near enough to fund a complex trial in which Danny was facing a death sentence.
The Iraqi court announced its verdict on 28 February 2011, finding Danny guilty of murder and sentencing him to life imprisonment. This sentence was upheld on appeal.
British ex-soldier Danny Fitzsimons sentenced to life imprisonment as Iraqi court accepts evidence of mental illness
The Karkh Criminal Court of Iraq this morning sentenced 31-year-old ex-soldier Danny Fitzsimons to life in prison for the murder of fellow security contractors Paul McGuigan and Darren Hoare in Baghdad’s Green Zone in August 2009.
Verdict postponed for British ex-soldier Danny Fitzsimons as Iraqi court considers evidence of mental illness
The Supreme Court of Iraq this morning adjourned the case of Danny Fitzsimons until 28th February in order to re-assess evidence of the British ex-soldier’s Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder.
A Baghdad court was due to hear witness testimony today in the trial of Manchester-born private security worker Danny Fitzsimons. The hearing was adjourned to allow Danny to be tested by the Psychiatric Medical Committee in Al Rashad Mental Hospital.
Tareq Harb, Iraqi lawyer for the British ex-soldier Danny Fitzsimons now facing execution in Iraq, will join Clive Stafford Smith and Danny's family in appealing for help in fighting this urgent case.
The family of British ex-soldier Danny Fitzsimons, now facing the death penalty in Iraq, will tomorrow join Clive Stafford Smith in revealing details of his plight in a public meeting near Danny’s home.