Belfast Telegraph

Sunday 21 September 2014

Shot worker's child 'true victim'

Danny Fitzsimons was jailed for life for murdering two colleagues in Iraq
Elsie-mai, the daughter of Paul McGuigan who was killed in Iraq

The fiancee of a British security worker shot dead in Iraq by a colleague has said the "true victim" of the crime was the daughter he never met.

Danny Fitzsimons will serve at least 20 years for killing Scot Paul McGuigan and Australian Darren Hoare in August 2009.

Fitzsimons, 31, from Rochdale, Greater Manchester, worked with the two victims for private security group ArmourGroup.

In a statement, Mr McGuigan's fiancee Nicci Prestage, 37, said: "I have found some solace in the fact that Fitzsimons has been convicted of murder and not manslaughter by self defence. There was no evidence to support a fight between Paul, Darren and Fitzsimons and the judge has recognised that."

Ms Prestage, who lives in Tameside, near Manchester, said she wanted to remind everyone her daughter Elsie-mai, born prematurely just weeks after her father's death, is the "true victim of Fitzsimons's actions".

Mr McGuigan, 37, a former Royal Marine originally from Peebles in the Scottish Borders, was gunned down alongside Mr Hoare in Iraq's Green Zone. Mr McGuigan was shot twice in the chest and through the mouth, while Mr Hoare was shot through the temple at close range.

Fitzsimons claimed he was acting in self-defence when he shot his colleagues, asking the judges in Iraq to consider a plea agreement which would convict him on lesser manslaughter charges.

His family said Fitzsimons is threatening to take his own life and is frightened of being sent to Baghdad's Rusafa prison because he is a former British Army paratrooper.

His step-mother Liz Fitzsimons said: "Danny, for the last few weeks, has been constantly saying he cannot end up in Rusafa jail, which is the main jail out there. He said 'I will be a target' and he said 'I just won't last'. He has also said that if they talk about putting him in Rusafa jail he will take his own life first."

Fitzsimons was the first Westerner to stand trial in Iraq since a 2009 US-Iraqi security agreement lifted immunity for foreigners.

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