Scotland

Killer security contractor Danny Fitzsimons 'not properly vetted'

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Media captionA leaked report shows G4S were aware of vetting flaws months before an employee killed two colleagues

A British security contractor who murdered two colleagues in Iraq had not been properly vetted, a BBC Scotland investigation has revealed.

Danny Fitzsimons shot dead Scottish security guard Paul McGuigan and Australian Darren Hoare in 2009.

It later emerged he was on bail for firearms offences and was suffering from Post Traumatic Stress Disorder.

The investigation found G4S was aware of failings in its screening procedures months before the shooting.

Fitzsimons is currently serving a 20-year sentence for the murders.

The former paratrooper from Rochdale had started working as a security contractor after leaving the Army.

In 2009 he was employed by private security company AmorGroup, which is owned by G4S.

Within 36 hours of arriving in Baghdad, following a night of heavy drinking, he shot dead Paul McGuigan, from Peebles, and Darren Hoare,.

A previous BBC investigation revealed how G4S was warned by one of its own staff not to employ Fitzsimons - though G4S denies it received the email warning.

The investigations team of Scotland 2014 has now obtained a leaked internal review - not previously made public - which reveals that the company was aware of failings in its screening process at least five months before the shooting.

Image caption Danny Fitzsimons' file was not signed off before his deployment

It shows that in March 2009, G4S carried out two separate audits reviewing screening polices and practices at G4S Risk Management, which dealt with armed contracts.

The first audit found the screening procedures only obtained "basic disclosure of criminal records" and "a number of personal files did not include criminal records checks".

The second audit found that contractors who had worked previously for the company and returned after long periods between assignments, were not vetted again and were deployed before handing in "necessary information".

On the deployment of Danny Fitzsimons, the report shows that basic documents were missing, such as a completed application form and military references to cover the years he was not working for G4S.

Crucially, the criminal records bureau certificate was never obtained.

That would have flagged up Fitzsimons' previous criminal convictions and also that he was on bail facing other criminal charges.

At the bottom of the compliancy table, where his file should have been signed off, there are two crosses, and it states "no check or sign off in place".

Image caption Paul McGuigan's mother says rigorous vetting could have saved her son's life

Corinne Boyd-Russell, the mother of Paul McGuigan, said she held G4S responsible for her son's death.

She said: "Why would you put guns into the hands of men who hadn't been vetted properly or screened properly? Why do that?

"It's not right, you just shouldn't do that. If they had implemented their processes my son would be alive today. My son would have a life. We would have a life."

The family of Danny Fitzsimons also believe it was wrong for the company to send him to Iraq.

Liz Fitzsimons, Danny's stepmother, said: "He wasn't passed on even 50%. It was less than 50%.

"No completed application form, no evidence on file to confirm it was checked, and yet they have repeatedly, repeatedly blamed Danny.

"The sign-off of file…wasn't done. So he never should have gone, should he? Never should have gone."

An inquest into the shooting of Paul McGuigan is due to take place in September this year.

Scotland 2014 contacted G4S for an interview but they declined, citing the pending inquest.

The families of both Paul McGuigan and Danny Fitzsimons are calling for a public inquiry.

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