Page last updated at 10:24 GMT, Wednesday, 7 April 2010 11:24 UK

British former soldier's Iraq murder trial adjourned

Danny Fitzsimons
Danny Fitzsimons' family wants him to face trial in the UK

The trial of a British security guard accused of murdering two colleagues in Iraq has been adjourned for two months for psychiatric assessments.

Former soldier Danny Fitzsimons, of Rochdale, Greater Manchester, was arrested after the two men were shot dead on 9 August 2009.

Mr Fitzsimons has said in text messages to the UK he acted in self-defence.

An official for the Karkh Criminal Court in west Baghdad said the case had been adjourned to 13 June.

Mr Fitzsimons was working as a security guard for British-based security firm ArmorGroup when Paul McGuigan, of Peebles, Scotland, and Darren Hoare, of Queensland, Australia, both 37, were shot in Baghdad's Green Zone.

In text messages sent from his Baghdad prison cell, Mr Fitzsimons said he shot dead the two men during a fight in which he feared for his life.

Mr Fitzsimons, who was aged 29 at the time of the incident, faces the death penalty if he is found guilty.

Defence claim

His father Eric and stepmother Liz have called on the British government to bring him back to face a trial under the UK judicial system.

The family of Mr McGuigan have disputed Mr Fitzsimons' account of what happened.

They said a post-mortem examination showed no defence or fight injuries to the two dead men, who had been shot at close range.

Mr Fitzsimons' defence team say at the time of the incident he was suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder as a result of his experiences while serving in Kosovo with the British army.

Legal charity Reprieve has said it is the government's "legal and moral duty" to become involved in the case.

Mr McGuigan was a former Royal Marines Commando and Mr Hoare served in Iraq as a member of the Royal Australian Air Force.

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