A BORDERS MSP has vowed to support an Innerleithen mother who has accused a private security firm of corporate manslaughter following her son’s death in Iraq, writes Kenny Paterson.
Security guard Paul McGuigan, 37, originally from Peebles, was shot dead by fellow G4S worker Danny Fitzsimmons in 2009.
It is now maintained that the multi-national company were warned that Fitzsimmons had previous convictions, including an outstanding charge for a firearms offence.
And medical records also appear to show the former paratrooper had been diagnosed as having post-traumatic stress disorder.
However, he was still employed and sent to Baghdad to work as a security contractor – and within hours of arriving had murdered former Marine Mr McGuigan, as well as Australian guard Darren Hoare. Fitzsimmons was found guilty of murdering both men in 2011 in an Iraqi court and is currently serving a 20-year prison sentence.
Christine Grahame, MSP for Midlothian South, Tweeddale and Lauderdale, now plans to meet with Mr McGuigan’s mother, Corinne Boyd-Russell, to discuss the case.
Ms Grahame told TheSouthern: “The additional evidence that has come forward seems to show the warnings set out to G4S about the man they employed who went on to kill Mr McGuigan went unheeded.
“I want to find out whether there is an issue of corporate culpability by the employer.”
Ms Grahame, a qualified solicitor, said as the offences took place in Iraq, the Crown Office cannot take any action.
“However, I hope the relevant authorities will look into this matter,” she added.
“There may also be a case for putting pressure on the Iraqi authorities to look into the company’s role.
“It appears the company were clearly warned about the mental instability of Mr Fitzsimmons.
“Mrs Boyd-Russell will be inundated at the moment, but I wish to speak to her as soon as possible about the case.
“This is a traumatic case for everyone, not just Mr McGuigan’s family, but the parents of Mr Fitzsimmons. They are also the victims.
“I am sure if the security company had taken the appropriate steps in vetting Mr Fitzsimmons, Mr McGuigan would be alive today.”
Speaking this week, Mrs Boyd-Russell recalled how she heard her son had been killed.
She said: “His partner said ‘There has been an accident, Paul is dead’.
“I said ‘No, don’t be silly’. I said ‘There couldn’t have been an accident, Paul was not on duty’.
“(I was told) he had been in some sort of altercation in the camp and that Paul and an Australian Darren Hoare had been shot and killed.”
It now appears that two emails were sent by a G4S worker advising the firm of Fitzsimmons’ unstable frame of mind and previous offences, before he was sent to Iraq.
The anonymous employee wrote: “I am concerned you have taken to employing a violent criminal from Manchester by the name of Danny Fitzsimmons.
“I am alarmed he will shortly be able to handle a weapon and be exposed to members of the public.
“I am speaking out because I feel people should not be put at risk.”
After receiving no response from the firm after three days, he sent another email: “I am disgusted that this individual will gain a job with such a large company.
“It will just fuel his lust for violence.
“Surely you must have some duty of care to not allow this to happen.”
After being told about the warnings issued to G4S, Mrs Boyd-Russell said: “[Fitzsimmons] 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 accountable for what they did.”
A G4S spokesman claimed Fitzsimmons falsified and withheld information during his recruitment, but also admitted his screening was “not completely” in line with the company’s procedures.
He added that the Crown Prosecution Service had said in court that there was no corporate manslaughter case to pursue.
The spokesman also said the emails warning G4S about Fitzsimmons were not received by its HR department.