British guard accused of murder appears in Iraqi court

Senior minister says that Daniel Fitzsimons has made a "full confession"

A British security guard facing trial for murder in Iraq appeared in court today and "made a full confession" according to a senior Iraqi official.

Daniel Fitzsimons, an employee of the British security company ArmorGroup, is accused of murdering two western colleagues and critically wounding an Iraqi.

He was arrested in Baghdad on Sunday in connection with the killing of Paul McGuigan, a former British soldier, and Darren Hoare, a former Australian Airforce operative.

He appeared before an investigative judge who told him that if convicted, he faces the death penalty. Major General Abdul-Kareem Kalaph, Interior Ministry spokesman, said last night that Fitzsimons has confessed during the brief hearing.

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. He faces the death penalty or life imprisonment, depending on the evidence."

Fitzsimons, 29, from Manchester, spent eight years in the Parachute regiment. He is alleged to have shot dead McGuigan and Hoare during a drunken disagreement in a security company bar early on Sunday.

The two victims were Fitzsimon's colleagues at ArmorGroup, one of 54 private security companies which operate in Iraq. Under a new protocol, they are now bound by Iraqi law.

Last night British Embassy staff were trying to secure access to Fitzsimons. The Foreign and Commonwealth Office is looking into how it can help but there appears to be little chance that he will stand trial in Britain.