News: Bereaved parents call for corporate manslaughter charges against G4Sby
The parents of a private security guard have called for his employer, G4S, to be charged with corporate manslaughter after their son was killed by a colleague described by an alleged whistleblower as a “violent criminal”.
According to a BBC documentary entitled ‘Britain’s Private War’, which is due to be screened on BBC Two Scotland tonight at 9pm, Paul McGuigan was shot dead by Danny Fitzsimons in Baghdad in August 2009. The two were undertaking a protection contract for G4S, which was operating in the region under the name of ArmorGroup. Another man, an Australian called Darren [***], was also killed, following what Fitzsimons, a former paratrooper, described as a drunken brawl. He is currently servicing 20 years in a Baghdad prison after being sentenced for the murders in February last year. But a fourth G4S worker had allegedly sent G4S a series of emails to its London-based headquarters, warning about Fitzsimon’s previous convictions and unstable behaviour. According to the programme, the anonymous whistleblower, who in one email signed himself off as a “concerned member of the public and father”, said: “I am alarmed that he will shortly be allowed to handle a weapon and be exposed to members of the public. I am speaking out because I feel that people should not be put at risk.” Another message send just before Fitzsimons was due to start work in Baghdad, said: “Having made you aware of the issues regarding the violent criminal Danny Fitzsimons, it has been noted that you have not taken my advice and still choose to employ him in a position of trust. I have told you that he remains a threat and you have done nothing.” Post-traumatic stress disorder Only 36 hours after arriving in Iraq, however, the two other men lost their lives and an Iraqi colleague was also injured as Fitzsimons attempted to flee the scene. He had previously worked as a private security contractor in Iraq but was sacked for punching a client. When he was taken on by G4S, Fitzsimons also allegedly had a criminal record, was facing outstanding charges of assault and a firearms offence and had been diagnosed as having post-traumatic stress disorder. In the documentary, McGuigan’s parents called for the firm to face criminal charges. His mother, Corinne Boyd-Russell, said that Fitzsimons may have fired the bullets, but “the gun was put in his hand by G4S ArmorGroup. They put the gun in that man’s hand. I want G4S to be charged with corporate manslaughter and be held to account for what they did”. A G4S spokesman admitted that screening in relation to Fitzsimons was “not completed in line with the company’s procedures”, but said that vetting had been tightened since the incident. In relation to the email warning, he added that, while he was aware of the allegations, an internal investigation had showed that “no such emails were received by any member of our HR department”. The spokesman did not clarify whether anyone else in the company had seen them. An inquest into former Royal Marine McGuigan’s death is due to start in December. The allegations come to light only a few months after G4S found itself at the centre of a scandal over its inability to provide promised levels of security staff to protect the Olympic Games in London, a situation that subsequently led to the dismissal of a number of top executives.