ArmorGroup sacks former Brit Para murder suspect

Discussion in 'Current Affairs, News and Analysis' started by jumpinjarhead, Sep 16, 2009.

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  1. ArmorGroup sacks murder suspect

    Security contractor with mental health problems faces death penalty in Iraq

    By Jonathan Brown and Terri Judd

    Daniel Fitzsimons' family fears he has been 'hung out to dry' by his former employers ArmorGroup

    The parents of a British military contractor with a history of mental health problems who is facing the death penalty in Iraq after shooting dead two colleagues said last night that they feared their son was being "hung out to dry" by his former employers.

    The security giant ArmorGroup was accused by supporters of "walking away" from Daniel Fitzsimons, who has been in custody since August accused of the premeditated murder of his ArmorGroup colleagues Paul McGuigan and Darren Hoar, and injuring Iraqi worker Arkhan Mahdi, following a drunken row.

    In a statement the company said he had been dismissed for gross misconduct while another man, thought to have been present on the night of the shootings, was also sacked. It is understood he had been drinking and was caught in possession of alcohol.

    Three other members of staff responsible for screening new recruits had resigned, the company said. Mr Fitzsimons, 29, was suffering post-traumatic stress disorder, anxiety attacks and flashbacks before going to Iraq but screening procedures had failed to pick this up. The incident happened 36 hours after returning to the country.

    His condition was revealed in a psychiatric report just months before he was hired by the security firm, which also provides personnel to safeguard UK interests in Afghanistan as part of a £17m contract with the Foreign Office.

    Mr Fitzsimons's step mother Liz told The Independent last night: "This is a shock to the family. We thought they had a duty of care to Daniel. We had a meeting with them last week and we are worried about him being hung out to dry and who will feed him in prison."

    Before joining ArmorGroup, Mr Fitzsimons had been dismissed by two other security firms, Aegis and Olive, on one occasion for "extreme negligence". At the time that he was taken on by ArmorGroup he was on bail awaiting trial for assault in Manchester.

    Details of his mental condition revealed in this newspaper prompted senior MPs to demand that companies recruiting private security personnel should be responsible by law for their employees' wellbeing.

    Last night the Fitzsimons's local MP Jim Dobbin, who has raised the case with Foreign Office minister Ivan Lewis, accused ArmorGroup of abandoning its responsibilities to their employee.

    He said: "You must question their employment practices and for them to be walking away at a crucial time like this is absolutely irresponsible. They have been part of the process right from the word go."

    The former member of the 2nd Battalion, The Parachute Regiment had served in Bosnia, Kosovo, Northern Ireland and Afghanistan. He left the Army in 2004 after punching an officer while suffering from combat stress. But after struggling to return to civilian life he signed up as a security guard and was sent back to Iraq where he was exposed to heavy violence.

    ArmorGroup is part of the vast G4S group, which last month reported a half-year turnover up more than 10 per cent to £3.5bn. G4S is currently vying for a new £20m contract with the Foreign Office and the shootings have proved a serious embarrassment.

    Questions over the conduct of private contractors in Iraq reached a head in 2007 when 17 civilians were killed by personnel from the US firm Blackwater, now branded Xe, which resulted in non-military security staff losing their immunity from prosecution.

    In a statement ArmorGroup said it had dismissed Mr Fitzsimons on the grounds of "gross misconduct". "Although Mr Fitzsimons is no longer an employee of the company, we are doing what we can to ensure that his human rights are met whilst in Iraqi custody by providing him with food, water, clothing and toiletries," it added.

    "We can confirm that in this particular case, there is evidence that Mr Fitzsimons falsified information during the recruitment process and that his screening was not completed in line with the company's procedures."

    Since the tragedy ArmorGroup said it had employed "additional screening professionals" to check employment files to confirm that currently-serving recruits were suitable for deployment.

    Mr Fitzsimons has been in daily contact with his British legal team but is understood to be too traumatised to speak to his parents. He was told that he had been sacked on Monday night.
  2. What could they keep him on as? Staff resettlement officer? PR coordinator?
  3. Unbelievable
  4. cpunk

    cpunk LE Moderator

    The words 'tough sh1t' come to mind.
  5. I can't think of many employees who would keep on somebody who got drunk and brassed up three people - especially after they lied on their application form.

    I doubt he's having much fun in prison though.
  6. should never have employed him and if there screening process had been adequate would never have got there.
  7. Not the best to desribe him but he probably will be
  8. Should'nt this be on another thread. :?:
  9. It is always the way I have seen it work - an employee gets caught (by the cops) for something serious but there is a long delay before trial. HR spend a little time looking around for anything they can hang a "gross misconduct = summary dismissal" and deliberate errors on your application form would seem to fit the bill.

    At the least, they don't (this is a UK view, not an Iraq one) want to be paying you while you are being investigated, especially if they think you are bang to rights. At least Armor Group still appear to be continuing to support him while he is locked up although I don't hold much hope for the guy's chance of a long and productive life.

    A cynical thought has occurred to me - the guy seems to have issues (bounced from the 2 previous employers, according to the reports) - what liability would accrue to ArmorGroup for putting him in a dangerous role for which he was (apparently) manifestly unsuited? If he has a UK or EEA employment contract, I would expect quite a lot. Start at making somebody drive a company van without checking they had a driving licence and extrapolate.
  10. Whatever he's done I don't agree with stretching anyones neck. No doubt the government will wash their hands of this entirely.

    Nice of armour group to send him some shower gel though...................
  11. I think they've been a bit hasty. Surely there's a disciplinary process to be followed? Perhaps a verbal warning, even a final written one, I mean, he only shot two of his colleagues. Hardly the end of the world is it?
  12. Andy_S

    Andy_S LE Book Reviewer

    Poor HR policy by the company - don't they do ANY due diligence? He was booted by two competing firms, for God's sake. Presumably there is so much money to be made in this field that the firms will take anybody with a military background and damn the torpedoes.

    RE: "Who will feed him in prison?"
    I always thought parents had more responsiblity for their children than do their employers.

    Perhaps this concept is outdated in today's world, though.
  13. If it should be I apologize for the error. I thought it relevant since PMCs are such a large part of "our" overall approach to Iraq and Afghanistan and that they are usually former military.

    I know in the US is it a growing concern among our military as to how should the US handle these guys since screw-ups by them (e.g., Xe, nee' Blackwater) can have strategic consequences. The average local neither understands nor cares about such nice distinctions between PMCs and our forces. All they see is a westerner (infidel) running roughshod over his or her family, goats, chickens and neighbors.

    In similar fashion the average American is too lazy to read enough to understand the difference either and reacts the same way as his Iraqi or Afghan counterpart. This is especially true when encouraged down that road by our progressive media and leftist interest groups who exploit the horror stories to support their anti-war or anti-US agendaas.
  14. chimera

    chimera LE Moderator

    You must work for PPPA?
  15. Lee Clegg (albeit he was sober at the time).