G4S: Reckless and Negligent Employment of a Mentally Ill Ex-Soldier

Danny Fitzsimons served in the British Army from the age of sixteen. His multiple missions abroad eventually took their toll, proving extremely disturbing.

In 2008, at the age of 28, Danny was diagnosed with Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD). The next year he found employment with ArmourGroup, a subsidiary of G4S, working as a security guard in Iraq. It was in Baghdad where Danny was drinking with two of his colleagues, Paul McGuigan and Darren Hoare. An argument ensued, whereupon Danny drew his gun. Fitzsimons then shot and killed his two colleagues. At the time of the shooting, Fitzsimons had spent a mere 36 hours in Iraq. The Iraqi court sentenced him to 20 years in prison. Fitzsimon’s parents claim that G4S should claim responsibility for this situation. They claim it was irresponsible of the company to supply their son with a gun given his current mental condition at the time. G4S failed to complete their background check – which is supposed to be performed on all new employees prior to their beginning work – on Danny before sending him on assignment. If they would have performed this check,  G4S would not only  have learned of Fitzsimons fragile mental state, but also of his dismissal from the British Army in 2004 after Fitzsimon was found guilty of killing a man. A G4S employee had warned the company of Fitzsimon’s questionable personality, stating that he considered Fitzsimon a risk to public safety. G4S ignored this advice and hired Fitzsimons anyway.

For security company chairperson, Bob Shepherd, this does not come as a surprise, “If the British tax payers knew how many people get killed by British security companies they would be shocked.” For better control of these companies, the British government established the “Security in Complex Environments Group,” or SCEG. However, its chairperson, Chris Sanderson, claims that this group has but a menial impact with few possibilities to sanction violations.

The Public Eye Awards nominated G4S for the title of Worst Company of the Year in 2013.

Comments are closed.