Ex-paratrooper turned security guard from Rochdale faces possible death penalty in Iraq.
'I was drunk': British security guard 'admits killing two colleagues in vodka-fuelled squabble' in Baghdad.
A British security contractor accused of shooting dead two western colleagues during a drunken row in Baghdad is said to have admitted the murders in an Iraqi court.
Former paratrooper Daniel Fitzsimons claimed he shot his colleagues in self-defence during a drunken row.
If he is put on trial for murder, he would be the first security contractor to face Iraqi justice - and he could receive the death penalty.
Fitzsimons, who is also alleged to have critically wounded an Iraqi, 'made a full confession' before a judge yesterday, it has been reported.
Interior Ministry spokesman Maj Gen Abdul-Kareem Kalaph said: 'The British guard admitted his crime of killing the two men.
'He remains under investigation in the Green Zone on charges of premeditated murder.'
Maj Gen Kalaph also told The Guardian that Fitzsimmons 'faces the death penalty or life imprisonment, depending on the evidence.'
The guard was accused of gunning down fellow Briton Paul McGuigan and Australian Darren Hoare following a squabble.
He is also alleged to have wounded an Iraqi as he tried to flee the scene of the attack in Baghdad's international Green Zone in the early hours.
If charged, he would be the first Westerner to face an Iraqi trial on murder charges since an agreement giving foreign workers immunity was lifted. He could face the death penalty.
Last night Fitzsimons told The Times: 'I got into a fight with two colleagues and they had me pinned down. I received a real beating.
'They beat me and that's when I reached for my weapon. I was drunk and it happened very quickly.'
Fitzsimons has in the past revealed he was suffering an inner 'mental fight' over his experiences in Iraq.
In a message posted in January last year on a Facebook page set up to honour fallen service personnel he told of the torment from losing friends during his three and a half years in private security.
Addressing soldiers serving in Iraq and Afghanistan he wrote: 'Stay Safe and to those who will return to fight a different battle ... A war inside your head ... A mental fight which will be tougher to win than any fight you've ever been in before ... To those of you ... Fight-through ... Keep your Brothers by your side and never give up ... You are not alone..! Danny Fitzsimons Ex- 2 Para.'
Maj Gen Kalaph said the row broke out after the men had been drinking.
He said: 'They got into an argument and he started shooting his colleagues
The three men were working for ArmorGroup Iraq, a British contractor that protects non-military supply convoys in the country.
According to witnesses, the men had begun to argue after drinking vodka at 4am near the Republican Palace where executed former dictatorSaddam Hussein once lived.
Fitzsimmons brandished a Beretta pistol and as his colleagues tried to overpower him two of them were shot dead.
He then allegedly turned towards an Iraqi colleague, shot him in the leg and tried to escape through the compound’s main vehicle exit.
The wounded Iraqi shouted: 'Help. The foreigner has killed other foreigners.'
As Mr Fitzsimmons tried to escape from the compound he exchanged gunfire with UN security guards and was eventually persuaded to drop his gun and surrender.
Mr Fitsimmons has now been taken to a police station where he is being held in a cell.
Fitzsimmons had only re-joined the company the end of July, spokesman for the company Patrick Toyne-Sewell said.
He had worked as a contractor for various companies in Iraq since 2004 but last year 'took some time out' before returning.
His profile picture shows a biker character wearing red leathers with a picture of a pill on the back of his jacket and the writing 'Good for health'.
New information has emerged on his MySpace site, where he describes his love of hedonism including alcohol, drugs and sex.
Seen posing with guns — and including grammatical and spelling
errors — he writes: 'When i come home from each rotation i give my liver, kidneys and braincells a good hiding to teach them a lesson and to help me achieve this i get as wasted as possible at every opportunity ... Remember reality is a condition caused by lack of drugs ... One love — pur hedonism twenty four seven..!”
Iraqi military spokesman Major General Qassim al-Moussawi said: 'It started as a squabble. The suspect is facing a premeditated murder charge. The matter is now in the hands of Iraqi justice.'
Former Royal Marine Mr McGuigan, 37, had worked for the company in Iraq for six years.
He has family in Scotland and most recently headed up a team tasked with 'personal security'.
ArmorGroup Iraq said in a statement: 'I can confirm the deaths of two ArmorGroup Iraq employees in the early hours of this morning in a firearms incident in the International Zone in Baghdad.
'The two men were Paul McGuigan, a British national, and Darren Hoare, an Australian national. Their next of kin have been informed and we are supporting them as much as we can in these tragic circumstances.
'We are working closely with the Iraqi authorities to investigate the circumstances of their deaths.'
The deaths come two months after five Americans were arrested in connection with the stabbing of fellow contractor James Kitterman from Houston. They were later taken into U.S. custody.
A U.S. - Iraqi security pact, which took effect on January 1, replaced the U.N. mandate for foreign forces and lifted the immunity that had been enjoyed by overseas contractors in Iraq for much of the six-year war.
A spokeswoman for the Foreign Office said: 'The Iraqi police are investigating a shooting incident in Baghdad in which one British national was killed.'
|Liveleak on Facebook|