Defense Base Act Compensation Blog

The Modern Day DBA Casualty

ArmorGroup Security Contractor Danny Fitzsimons Trial

Posted by defensebaseactcomp on January 23, 2011

We ask again why ArmorGroup is not on trial for endangering the lives of everyone they exposed to an armed Danny Fitzsimons

Paul McGuigan and Darren Hoare are dead because of ArmorGroup’s negligence in failing to Vet a mentally ill employee with a pending weapons charge in England,  previous convictions, and known alcohol and drug problems.

And who paid the families of the dead?  The Defense Base Act Exclusive Remedy relieved ArmorGroup of responsibility despite negligence but the DBA does not pay when alcohol is involved.

Danny Fitzsimons discharged from Army with PTSD

Danny Fitzsimons:  The War Inside Your Head

“Upon arrival, he was given an M4 rifle, a pistol and a bullet-proof vest which he set down in his room before meeting with an old friend he had made during a previous tour in Iraq, where he worked with three different firms before joining ArmorGroup.

Fitzsimons and his friend, another ArmorGroup security guard who was identified only as Kevin, bought two bottles of whiskey before settling in Kevin’s trailer in Baghdad’s heavily-fortified Green Zone to chat over drinks.”

Daniel Fitzsimons denies murder of two colleagues in Iraq

British security contractor Daniel Fitzsimons tells Baghdad court he is guilty of manslaughter due to diminished responsibility

British security contractor accused of murdering two colleagues in Iraq has given his first courtroom account of the drunken night that has left him facing a possible death sentence.

Daniel Fitzsimons, a former paratrooper, told a criminal court in Baghdad today that he was not guilty of murdering Briton Paul McGuigan and Australian Darren Hoare in August 2009, but was guilty of manslaughter due to diminished responsibility, after he responded to taunts from both men.

Fitzsimons claims he was watching a DVD with a colleague from his army days, Kevin Milson, when McGuigan joined them. Fitzsimons had returned to Baghdad just over 24 hours earlier, following two previous tours with other security companies. He said he did not know McGuigan, but claimed intra-military tensions soon played out between them.

“Paul was with the marines and I was with the Parachute Regiment and as everyone knows there is rivalry between the two,” he said. “He started to insult me and insulted two friends of mine who had died in Iraq. I punched him in the nose and said ‘come on, fight me’.”

Fitzsimons’s testimony was similar to an account he gave to the Guardian in March last year. He claims to have been provoked, first in Milson’s room and then, later, in his own cabin, where he had returned to use the internet.

“I had been on the internet for an hour and then slept and then my door crashed in,” he said. “I saw Paul McGuigan and the Australian man, Darren Hoare. They kicked me in the face with their sandals. They wanted to kill me. It was shameful for a soldier.

“Paul took my M4 [assault rifle] from beside my bed and pointed it at me. He said ‘I am going to kill you’. I raised my pistol and shouted to Paul twice to put down his weapon, but he did not respond. Then I made my decision, as an old soldier, as a trained soldier, I shot him twice in the chest and a third time in his face as he fell.

“The Australian then tried to fight me for the pistol. He went for the trigger and tried to turn the pistol to my neck. He was shouting that he was going to kill me. He was much bigger than me. I pulled the trigger and put two, maybe three bullets in his chest.”

Fitzsimons had been diagnosed in Britain with post-traumatic stress disorder, but the Iraqi court is yet to decide whether that will be used in his defence. Iraqi medical experts have twice found that Fitzsimons was suffering no particular emotional disorder at the time of the killings.

The judge, Ali Yousef, questioned Fitzsimons on forensic evidence prepared for a coroner, which said powder burns were absent from Hoare’s body, not supporting Fitzsimons’s account of a close contact struggle during which fatal shots were fired from a short range.

Fitzsimons said: “I think the evidence was manipulated by the security company. The crime scene was changed.”

Salam Abdul Kareem, a lawyer for the victims’ families, urged the court to hand down the maximum sentence, which is death by hanging, or life imprisonment. “He did not stop shooting until all 14 bullets were finished,” he said.

McGuigan’s relatives and former fiancee in Britain have strongly challenged Fitzsimons’s version of events, claiming McGuigan was executed.

The case was adjourned until 20 February, when a verdict is expected.  Please see the original here

9 Responses to “ArmorGroup Security Contractor Danny Fitzsimons Trial”

  1. daffodils said

    Exactly right. Time and time again they get away with just dumping civilian contractors who they know got PTSD in the war zones(remember they test them before employment)onto their families without any warning whatsoever. No matter the consequences, or who else gets hurt as a result of their negligence.

    Just want to correct something. The DBA law does not rule out compensation “when alcohol is involved”, but only if the death or injury are solely due to the intoxication of the claimant. There was no prohibition on alcohol in Iraq at the time as there was in Afghanistan, and even if there was it would not still not amount to the only reason, never mind rise to the level of intoxication.

    How absurd for the Iraqi court to dismiss his PTSD defense, he was discharged from the military because of his PTSD years earlier for heaven’s sake, seems their psychiatrists are clones of John Dorland Griffith.

    I totally believe that the contract company has corrupted the crime scene. They do it all the time, from scrubbing computers and cameras to stealing/ destroying evidence to coaching witnesses to lie in court including hiring doctors who change MMPI -2 results.

    It’s one thing to be unfairly denied DBA, its quite another when your neck is literally on the line because of all their lies.

  2. A contractor said

    Having met and worked with all three of the individuals that this case is centred on I feel qualified to make a comment. Both Paul and Darren were professional men holding positions of responsibility, I had never seen them do anything to bring themselves or the company into disrepute. Danny was an idiot, he had been thrown out of the Army for testing positive for illegal drugs during a random drugs test. He fancied himself as very much the ‘hard man’ but was just a silly little child with a history of criminal convictions and had been fired by at least one of the security companies he worked for in Iraq. I know former members of the Parachute Regiment who did the same operational tours as him and they claim there was nothing that Danny was exposed to that would have led to any form of PTSD. All the coroners reports and subsequent forensic investigations into this incident prove that there was no fight as Danny claims. His story is false and the lies told will surprise nobody who ever knew this man.

    I hope he hangs. Perhaps Darrens wife and three children alongside Pauls partner and new child will feel justice has been done. If you murder somebody in a foreign country then you should expect to be sentenced by what the local judiciary feel is appropriate.

    • defensebaseactcomp said

      With the reputation that Danny had among his peers, his criminal convictions, his psychiatric diagnoses, and his previous employment history would it not seem like ArmorGroup armed a loose cannon and endangered the lives of those he was placed with?

    • daffodils said

      Tell me one thing and one thing only.
      You say you worked with all of them so you worked for Amorgroup.
      Were you subjected to a hazing initiation, involving male sex, real or simulated, as the public record confirms Amorgoup put all its new arrivals through???
      this is the shameful unspoken aspect that nobody wants to mention, this is what it was all about.
      a man who did not want to be part of this, drunk or not.

  3. A Reader said

    When I first learned of this horrible tragedy, I felt a lot of sympathy for Danny. PTSD is a serious condition that is too often ignored by health care professionals, military and private security companies. Besides Danny, a huge part of the blame has to be carried by AG. Some people there had to resign after this happened. To me, that is NOT enough. They should have to pay the victims families, also pay into trust funds for the children so their future is financially secure. I understand that people do make mistakes, but how in the heck can you do your job so poorly and hire someone without checking his background? Well, re hire someone. Fitzsimmons was sacked from another company for threatening someone with a gun. Why does this not show up in any records? Well, why arent there any records for people whom do screw up while working in a danger zone and companies have access to them? I dont want him to hang, but I dont want him to get off this either. Months before this happened, it was made clear to everyone over there, that the Iraqis had jurisdiction now. Their country, their laws. Every company had briefings about that.
    Why did he run to the embassy after he killed these two men? Because he knew he was going to be in deep shit, because the iraqi law would be applied?
    Why has AG continiously been getting contracts in Iraq and Afghan, even though their hiring process allowed a mentally ill man to carry a gun and end up killing two people?
    No alcohol allowed? Well, it wasnt a dry contract. Wasnt it, no drinks if there is a mission the next day?
    AG screwed up by NOT making it a dry contract. Alcohol and guns dont mix well.
    AG screwed up by NOT checking this mans history.
    AG screwed up even more by just letting their HR people resign. Where are they now? Working for other security companies in the HR department? Give the benefit of the doubt…sure, I am willing. I am pretty certain those HR folks deeply regret making those mistakes.
    But because of those mistakes, two men are dead, a mentally ill man is facing death by hanging. Families having to continue their lives without their loved ones.
    And quite frankly, even though I am a person with loads of compassion, I am not rooting for Fitzsimmons..I stand on the side of the two men killed. They are the only truly innocent ones in all of this.

  4. Dave Newton-Sealey said

    Who actually employed Danny,? I never met Danny But I had worked with Paul in 2003. I also worked for Armorgroup until I was badly injured in 2004. All of a sudden. Armorgroup International Ltd in London. Who interview everyone for the jobs. Brag on glossy brochures, that they employ over 8,500 world wide. But when it all goes wrong as in my case. Armorgroup International LTD maintain they don’t employ anyone abroad and have nothing to do with the running and equipment supply in Iraq. Everyone is allegedly actually employed by a Jersey based company on the third floor of an office in St Helier, Jersey. Now CNA are depriving me of the DBA benefits I’m entitled to because they say that Armorgroup International had nothing to do with my employment.
    Read the case judgement on the OALJ website Case number 2011 LDA 00387 Where it states my employer is AG International LTD, then it goes on to say that they are not…. I was almost killed protecting American engineers and this is how the US government repay me. I should have let them be killed and got the sack. At least I’d have my health, I have a brain injury that prevents me from being employed. What entitles Armorgroup to publish lies about themselves, and get away with it.

    • defensebaseactcomp said

      Danny Fitzsimons was employed by ArmorGroup North America, a one to two man office in Northern Virginia of which Michael O’Connell hailed as President, a shell to give the appearance they were all American. He was also a Vice President at Ronco Consulting in Washington DC at the same time.
      I suspect Danny was hired in London also.

      ArmorGroup North America is now G4S Demining or part of G4S Demining.

      Who paid the Defense Base Act Insurance Premiums on your behalf, on the contract you worked?
      That in itself should be the definitive answer.

    • dulce bellum inexpertis said

      They base themselves offshore as too avoid paying tax. If I remember correctly Armour Group UK had a contract with the Army Corps of Engineers. The rules seem pretty clear but are not adhered too though.
      It should have been up too Armour Group UK to inform the DoL of your accident and to inform you of your rights and start the claim process on your behalf.

      All this BS is smoke screen to deny you what you are entitled too. The employer/carrier will stop at nothing to deny you benefits and fight your claim all the way.

      All these little companies are also a smoke screen to confuse the courts which it would seem that, that has been the case in your case.

      If you do not mind me asking who has and who is paying for your medical care. I take it you are not paying it for yourself or you should not be.

      • Dave Newton-Sealey said

        Thank you for replying. I am having no medical care anymore. I reached my MMR years ago. Two and a half years ago I won a small injury compensation claim against Armorgroup….. which comprised of AG Services, AG Jersey and AG International Limited. One of which CNA are claiming were not my employers, AG International Limited, even though they brag about having 8,500 employees in 38 different countries…..they don’t actually employ any one. This is what they are claiming killed my DBA claim, Ag International Limited were allegedly are third party to my employment, even though they interviewed me, gave me the job, they are the mother company for Armorgroup. I don’t understand how they can advertise them selves to the world as they largest employer of security personnel,and how great they are. But when the sxxx hits the fan they claim to not employ anyone. The whole Iraq operation is run from a small 2nd floor office in Jersey, with one manager, Ian Dulake. Who used to work for the Jersey Government. Until my case became very complicated. He resigned from the Government and started full time for AG Jersey. Everyone knew we were getting paid from Jersey, in US dollars, tax fiddle. Everyone turned a blind eye to that. But that’s all Jersey had to do with employees. They certainly didn’t supply weapons, or anything else in Iraq. Everything was controlled by the head office in London, Ag International Limited. Even G4S are doing it now. G4S employment services Jersey,

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