Jailed ex-soldier faced charges here
Date published: 26 April 2011
A Middleton man jailed in Iraq for murdering two colleagues had been due to appear in court at home accused of assaulting an Asian man on a train.
But the family of security contractor Danny Fitzsimons said it is evidence that he is suffering form post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).
The 31-year-old was jailed for 20 years last month after shooting ArmorGroup colleagues Paul McGuigan and Darren Hoare in Baghdad in August, 2009.
His family said the ex–paratrooper, who served eight years in the forces, was tormented by his experiences in Kosovo and Iraq and should never have been given clearance to work for the security firm.
In April the same year, Fitzsimons was convicted of a public order offence after he fired a flare gun into the air to scare off teenagers causing trouble outside his flat in Middleton.
He was due to be sentenced at Bolton Crown Court and also appear on the assault charge.
Stepmother Liz Fitzsimons said: “There were youths climbing all over the roof of the flat he lived in. He went and tried to warn them off. He just got laughed at and a lot of abuse. That’s when he went back in the flat and got this flare gun.
“Any normal person not suffering from PTSD would have just phoned the police.”
She said of the assault on the train: “That wasn’t a racist attack. He felt threatened. There were three of them.”
Mrs Fitzsimons said the offences would not have happened if Danny had received support for his condition.
She said: “I feel very strongly that we have let him down because we did not know the severity of his illness. If we had known, we would have helped him so much. He is now in an Iraqi jail not getting treatment for PTSD. There is treatment available, but not in Iraq.”
She stressed the family’s sadness that two men had lost their lives but said: “If people start to recognise PTSD and do something about it, then at least some good has come out of this horrendous situation. Danny doesn’t deserve this. He has been let down by us, the Army and he has been let down by the ArmourGroup.”
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