7 Apr 2015

G4S death: today was not a victory for compassion

What a dispiriting end to the day for a man once in command of 50,000 people for the world’s third largest company G4S. David Taylor Smith was only second to Nick Buckles before the multinational’s Olympic fiasco. He resigned soon after but today found himself again taking hits for the company he left.

He’d been summoned to appear as a witness at the inquest into the murder of security guard Paul McGuigan. He was shot dead in Baghdad in 2009 by another G4S recruit – Danny Fitzsimons – who’s now serving a 20 year sentence in an Iraqi jail.

Mr Taylor Smith was at ease in the witness box. He put up his hands to systemic company failures in its vetting procedures. Fitzsimons had lied and faked his way through the system. The last question from the lawyer acting for the dead guard’s mother was simply a request for an apology. But the coroner ruled it as inadmissible.

So at the end of the day I hung around hoping that Mr Taylor Smith might feel, freed from the shackles of G4S, to express a little more compassion about the consequences of his former employer’s actions.

But as we waited outside Stockport coroners court, his legal team stood on the pavement devising a quick getaway for their client. And sure enough on cue Mr Taylor Smith, probably the most highest paid executive ever to enter the coroner’s domain, rushed out the door,straight past and into the taxi at speeds rivalling Usain¬†bolt.

Today was not a victory for compassion.

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