Coroner slates G4S over death of Scottish bodyguard

Joanne Kearsley
Coroner Joanne Kearsley

A private security guard who shot and killed two ex-servicemen in Iraq was not properly vetted by his employer, according to an inquest into their deaths.

The Stockport inquest into the murder of Paul McGuigan and Darren Hoare in Iraq in 2009 heard that killer Danny Fitzsimons had a history of criminal offences and was facing ongoing proceedings when he was sent to work in Iraq.

Coroner Joanne Kearsley concluded that McGuigan, from Peebles in the Scottish Borders, was unlawfully killed and that the probation service failed to recognise and address the risk posed by Fitzsimons.

Fitzsimons was working for G4S-owned ArmorGroup when he shot the two men within 24 hours of arriving in Iraq on deployment. It has now emerged his documentation was not checked by the company, nor did HR staff ensure they had all required paperwork.

Described as a “highly manipulative individual”, he had faked documents and failed to produce a CRB check. The discrepancies went unnoticed before his deployment.

Information about his bail conditions or possible flight risk were not made easily available to probation workers.

Fitzsimons is currently serving a 20-year jail term in Baghdad. He was the first Westerner to be convicted in Iraq since the US-led invasion in 2003.

A spokesperson for G4S said industry standards had “advanced significantly” since the incident.

He said: “Industry standards for the recruitment of private security operators in high-threat environments have advanced significantly in the years following this tragic incident.

“G4S has played a key role in promoting those changes.

“G4S takes the safety of our employees and the people in our care extremely seriously and we operate rigorous recruitment processes.

“We will continue to advocate for the adoption of the highest possible industry standards in the screening and vetting for armed security roles.”

Share icon
Share this article: