Slain Ipswich security contractor Darren Hoare.
Slain Ipswich security contractor Darren Hoare.

Fitzsimons claims self-defence

THE death of an Ipswich security contractor who was killed in Iraq by a colleague was done so in self-defence, the defendant has told an Iraqi court.

The British man on trial for Darren Hoare's murder, Danny Fitzsimons, 30, argued on Sunday that he was acting in self-defence when he fatally shot Mr Hoare and another man, Paul McGuigan, after an alcohol-fuelled argument in Iraq's “Green Zone” in August 2009.

Mr Hoare, a former RAAF Base Amberley servicemen who lived at Willowbank, left behind wife Molly Joe, sons James and Trent and daughter Jennifer.

Mr Fitzsimons is the first westerner in an Iraqi criminal court since the 2003 American-led invasion began.

He told Karkh criminal court in west Baghdad that the two men had burst into his room and pinned him down before pointing an M4 rifle at his face, prompting him to use his pistol to kill them.

Mr Fitzsimons, who pleaded not guilty, said that Mr Hoare and Mr McGuigan attacked him.

“It was very clear that he acted in self-defence, and we also submit that he has psychiatric problems,” Mr Fitzsimmons' Iraqi lawyer Tariq Harb told the court.

“He also did this under the influence of alcohol.”

The trial was adjourned until February 20 as the court sought clarification over Mr Fitzsimons' psychiatric report.

The 30-year-old faces a maximum sentence of death if convicted.

Mr Fitzsimons said he returned to Iraq on August 8, 2009, to work as a private security guard with ArmorGroup, a British-based security firm.

On arrival, he was given an M4 rifle, a pistol and a bullet-proof vest which he set down in his room before meeting with a friend he had made during a previous tour in Iraq, where he worked with three different firms before joining ArmorGroup.

Mr Fitzsimons and his friend, another ArmorGroup security guard who was identified only as Kevin, bought two bottles of whiskey before settling in Kevin's trailer in Baghdad's heavily fortified Green Zone to chat over drinks.

Mr Fitzsimons' lawyer said the night began to unravel when Mr McGuigan and Mr Hoare burst into his client's trailer, with Mr Hoare pinning him down while Mr McGuigan hit him in the face with a sandal.

Mr McGuigan then grabbed Mr Fitzsimons' M4 and pointed it at his face.

According to Mr Fitzsimons, Mr McGuigan threatened to kill him. The defendant said that, at that point, he grabbed his pistol and fired two rounds into Mr McGuigan's chest followed by a bullet into his face. After a subsequent tussle with Mr Hoare, Mr Fitzsimons recalled firing two or three rounds at the Australian.

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