Danny Fitzsimons Discharged from Army with PTSD
Posted by defensebaseactcomp on August 11, 2009
Briton facing death penalty in Iraq ‘suffering from stress’
The parents of an ex-Paratrooper who allegedly shot two fellow security guards in Iraq have said he was suffering from a stress disorder triggered by his experience of conflict.
In a statement the family appealed for assistance to ensure that Daniel Fitzsimons, who faces the death penalty, is granted a fair trial in Baghdad.
The former soldier has reportedly said that colleagues, Paul McGuigan and Darren Hoare were shot after he received a “beating” from the two men after a drinking session in the city’s Green Zone.
He is being held at a jail in central Baghdad under Iraqi law and could be the first Westerner to go to court on criminal charges since immunity was lifted earlier this year.
“We are seeking funding in order to get a fair trial for Daniel, who served his country in Afghanistan and Iraq and left the Army suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder,”
the statement from father Eric and stepmother Liz, from Whitworth, and mother Beverley, from Blackley, said. “This situation is every parent’s worst nightmare. We have been unable to speak directly to Daniel and are currently in contact with the Foreign Office, Fair Trials Abroad and our local MP, Jim Dobbin.”
Mr Fitzsimons was born in Rochdale and grew up in New Moston, Manchester. He went to school at Our Lady’s Catholic school in Royton, Oldham, before joining the Army.
Friends have revealed Mr Fitzsimons lived by himself in a flat in Rochdale and that he had told only his father and doctor about the trauma he had suffered.
Mr Fitzsimons had returned to Iraq as a private security contractor, ‘on and off’, for around three years. “I got into a fight with two colleagues and they had me pinned down. I received a real beating,” he told the Times. “They beat me and that’s when I reached for my weapon. I was drunk and it happened very quickly.”
An Iraqi military spokesman, Major General Qassim al-Moussawi said the circumstances of the fight were well established. “It started as a squabble. The suspect is facing a premeditated murder charge,” he said. “The matter is now in the hands of Iraqi justice.”
Another British man was questioned by police and later released, the Foreign Office confirmed.
A friend of Fitzsimons told ITV News that the former soldier had struggled to recover from serving in Iraq. “He’s not a cold-blooded murderer, he’s just someone that has basically been in a war zone and is reaping the effects,” he said. “He’s been through some very tragic and hard-core events and you know, seeing friends killed and colleagues killed has an effect on you.” Original Story here
Iraq guard Fitzsimons tells The Times he killed in self-defence
One former British soldier who had worked alongside Mr Fitzsimons, who previously served as a Paratrooper, claimed he had a history of violent conduct. “This should have precluded him from being hired,” he said. “This guy should never have been out here.”
A contractor based in Britain who also worked with Mr Fitzsimons agreed. “We have guys working in Iraq whose backgrounds are not checked as they should be,” he said. “This guy has been a loose cannon for years.”
ArmorGroup said it had a strong vetting and screening process for its employees. “We have been presented with the allegations regarding Mr Fitzsimons today and they are currently under thorough investigation. Until that is complete, we are not able to comment further,” a spokeswoman added. Existing employees in Iraq, however, said that on-the-job monitoring of staff was at best cursory. Times story here