Defense Base Act Compensation Blog

The Modern Day DBA Casualty

ArmorGroup Security Guard Danny Fitzsimons escapes Death Penalty on PTSD diagnoses

Posted by defensebaseactcomp on February 28, 2011

Danny Fitzsimons avoids death penalty and lawyers press for reduced sentence to be served in UK

Clive Stafford Smith, Reprieve’s director, said: “If G4S had done the proper checks and risk assessments when Danny applied to work with them, they would have quickly seen that he was suffering from serious PTSD, a consequence of loyally serving his country.

People with PTSD can have “heightened levels of physiological arousal,” such as elevated heart rates even though they are not in real danger, Baldwin said.

“Because they feel unsafe, they’re more likely to be triggered into a defense state that might get them out of a traumatic experience that isn’t really happening,” he said.

“During this type of event, you think that your life or others’ lives are in danger,” Baldwin said. “You may feel afraid or feel that you have no control over what is happening.” from Learning to Live Again

The Guardian UK Monday February 28, 2011  12:50 GMT

Danny Fitzsimons leaves the Iraqi court where he received a 20-year jail sentence for murder. Immunity for foreign contractors was lifted in 2009. Photograph: Karim Kadim/AP

A British former soldier has been jailed for 20 years by the supreme court of Iraq for the murder of two fellow security contractors, becoming the first westerner to be convicted in the country since the 2003 invasion.

The family of 31-year-old Danny Fitzsimons expressed relief that he had escaped the death penalty and asked Iraqi authorities and the UK government to ensure his safety in prison. Defence lawyers indicated they would try to get the term reduced.

Before his conviction and sentencing in a hearing lasting less than 30 minutes, there had been talks over whether he could be transferred to a British prison. Fitzsimons’s family and campaigners fear for his safety if he is moved outside Baghdad’s Green Zone to the city’s Rusafa prison.

Fitzsimons, from Middleton, Manchester, was accused of shooting fellow Briton Paul McGuigan and Australian Darren Hoare in Baghdad, colleagues with the UK security firm ArmorGroup, part of G4S, after an argument in the Green Zone in August 2009. He was also accused of wounding an Iraqi guard while fleeing. The incident happened within 36 hours of his arrival in the city. He had worked in the country before.

Fitzsimons admitted shooting the men but claimed it was in self-defence. The colleagues had been out drinking and the other two tried to kill him during an altercation, he said. Fitzsimons claimed to be suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).  Please read the entire story here

6 Responses to “ArmorGroup Security Guard Danny Fitzsimons escapes Death Penalty on PTSD diagnoses”

  1. Jessica Aylott said

    I am so sick of hearing that PTSD is an acceptable excuse for murder…NOTHING makes what he did ok. Ho very fortunate of him to be able to live in an Iraqi jail. There are countless people whose lives have been irresversably affected by this crime. The damage this man has done to these families just goes on and on. He does radio interviews and is still able to hurt them….when does it end for them? Very simply put I would suggest that these families are suffering PTSD from the events that have happened to them over the last 18 months…does that mean they can kill him and it would be considered acceptable?

    • defensebaseactcomp said

      We’ve not yet heard anyone say that what Danny Fitzsimons did was acceptable.
      There are others to blame for this tragedy as well.
      The people at ArmorGroup G4S put loaded guns in mentally ill mans hands and dropped him in Darren and Paul’s living quarters.
      Anyone find that acceptable?

      How odd that none of the family members speak to this reckless negligence.

    • daffodils said

      PTSD is not an excuse for anything, it is a real mental disorder that has caused more suicides (and yes, homicides and felonies too) than all combat deaths in the recent wars, afterwards of course.

      How can you possibly call it an “excuse” when one-third of soldiers/ contractors who participated are diagnosed with either PTSD/ TBI/ major depression or a comorbid combination of the above?

      You are right, the damage done to these families is terrible but others who suffered just as much from the effects of this disorder don’t blame the victim but rather the greedy negligent operators (like Amorgroup and RONCO and KBR) who chose to ignore the glaring warning signs and deployed or refused to treat sick people with impunity because they made up to 500% profit off their backs.
      Fully understand your righteous anger, but direct it at the right target, you may find it helpful to read up on PTSD in the DSM-4 online (simple, easy to understand and only 5 pages long).

      I salute the Iraqi court for recognizing this irrefutable fact in their verdict (given the long battle back home with some obtuse ALJ’s denying or mocking the very existence of PTSD) but still don’t understand why they gave him a life sentence regardless, diminished capacity due to PTSD is what got him discharged from the military years before and should have factored.

      Finally, you don’t really mean that Jessica, do you, the part about him being “fortunate to live in an Iraqi jail”. How absurd that citizens of countries that do not even have the death penalty urge a third country like Iraq to execute someone so they can somehow feel that justice has been done?

      • Ty said

        Daniel Fitzsimons is a disgrace to his uniform and country.

        He shot those men in the back. They were unarmed, wearing t-shirts and sandals.

        Let him rot in his Iraqi prison. He deserves worse.

  2. andy smith said

    He didn’t have PTSD when he left the Army he failed a compulsory drugs test and made up lies so he wouldn’t get a dishonarable discharge. I know because I was there at the time and served with him. His lies are an insult to the lads who are suffering and no excuse for murder.

  3. daffodils said

    So you claim you were there at his side in Bosnia/ Serbia every hour of every day, and you know that your claim is rubbish. just google the carnage that was wrought on civilians by the bombs from up high.

    Nobody can be there all the time. Besides, this is a common defense in DBA cases to bribe a coworker to claim that nothing happened at all, even the fith circuit of appeals in the US just found that the Iraq war was NOT life-threatening, all on account of one Will Haynes (US) and Mike Harling (Canada).

    failing a drug test afterwards does not mean he was not exposed to the incidents his superiors knew about to be real and credited by his officers to discharge him for PTSD years befor this case became an issue.

    Andy, there is a thing called Karma. stop the lies.

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