Manchester

Iraq verdict over Danny Fitzsimons killings adjourned

Danny Fitzsimons
Image caption Danny Fitzsimons' family hope he will be allowed to return to the UK to serve a sentence

The verdict in the trial of a British security guard who killed two colleagues in Baghdad has been adjourned for eight days.

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

The former soldier pleaded not guilty to murder, but admitted manslaughter with diminished responsibility.

The case was adjourned for judges to consider Fitzsimons' mental state.

He claims to be suffering from post traumatic stress disorder.

His defence team said the condition was a result of his service with the British army in Kosovo.

His hearing is now scheduled for 28 February.

Fitzsimons was escorted out of the court by police and taken back to the police station in the international zone where he has been held since the shooting incident.

Image caption Mr Fitzsimons was taken back to a police station in Baghdad

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.

He had been due to find out if he was going to face the death penalty after his case was adjourned on 23 January while judges considered psychiatric reports.

His father, Eric, and brother, Michael, had flown to Baghdad for the hearing.

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

Mr McGuigan's fiancee Nicci Prestage, 37, from Tameside near Manchester said: "Whilst I and Paul's family wait for the judges' verdict in Iraq, the stress for us is intolerable."

Mr Fitzsimons told the BBC from his cell: "From the bottom of my heart, I feel nothing but sorrow and sadness for the families, for the mothers, the fathers, for the children.

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

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