Ex-soldier Danny Fitzsimons 'may face death penalty' in Iraqi court


A security guard who killed two men in Baghdad is due to find out this weekend if he will face the death penalty.

Danny Fitzsimons, 30, from Rochdale, has admitted killing Paul McGuigan, from the Scottish Borders, and Darren Hoare, from Australia, in August 2009.

He has pleaded not guilty to murder, but admitted manslaughter with diminished responsibility.

His parents, who have flown to Baghdad, say that he was suffering from post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).

Mr Fitzsimons' defence team has said the condition was a result of his experiences while serving in Kosovo with the British army.

Mr Fitzsimons, Mr McGuigan and Mr Hoare had all been working for British security firm ArmorGroup, based in the Iraqi capital's fortified Green Zone, at the time of the shooting.

Mr Fitzsimons has said he shot the men in self-defence, after an altercation broke out.

He is the first Westerner to stand trial in Iraq after a 2009 US-Iraqi security agreement lifted immunity for foreigners.

Image caption,
Danny Fitzsimons' lawyers said he had suffered post-traumatic stress

His case was adjourned on 23 January while judges considered psychiatric reports.

Mr Fitzsimons' family hope he will be allowed to return to the UK to serve a sentence and seek treatment closer to home.

They have flown to Iraq ahead of the sentencing on Sunday.

His father, Eric Fitzsimons, said: "He's my son, and who knows, it could be my last chance to see him.

"All we want to do is help him, and I would like Daniel to get some sort of comfort from it, some sort of reassurance."

Speaking to the BBC from his cell, Mr Fitzsimons said not a minute goes by when he does not regret what has happened.

"From the bottom of my heart, I feel nothing but sorrow and sadness for the families, for the mothers, the fathers, for the children," he said.

"It was something I was forced into and it could only end one way."

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