Derrick Bird, 52, described by friends as “a loner” who lived with his mother, started his bloody rampage with his twin brother, a family solicitor and then three taxi drivers with whom he had worked for years. He then embarked on a random spree through the Cumbrian countryside.
The shooting frenzy began close to Bird’s home village of Rowrah early in the morning. It is understood he shot dead his twin brother David, of Lamplugh, a former mechanic working as a lorry driver. He also killed Kevin Commons, the family solicitor. He set off for Whitehaven, where one of his first victims was Darren Rewcastle, 43, a taxi driver who had worked with Bird for years. Friends said they never had any problems in the past.
A taxi driver in Whitehaven, Cumbria, where Bird shot and killed two people, said last night: “From what I’ve been told, there was an argument between him and other drivers.” Afterwards Derrick shook all their hands and said: “There’s going to be a rampage tomorrow.” Bird then told his friend Peter Leder: “You won’t see me again.”
Turning the gun on two other taxi drivers, Bird killed one and injured another, believed to be Terry Kennedy, who is in his 40s. He moved on to the town of Egremont where he came across Susan Hughes, 57, who has two daughters, one of whom is understood to be severely disabled. She was walking home from a local shop when he killed her. Bird climbed out of the vehicle and shot her twice in the stomach with a .22 rifle before driving half a mile and shooting dead Ken Fishburn, a retired security worker who was in his 70s. He was believed to be on his way to a betting shop when he was killed. As he drove to Wilton, Bird killed a man, named locally as Spike Dixon. Last night it emerged that a couple named locally as Jimmy and Jennifer Jackson, both church stalwarts in their 60s, had also been shot dead at a house in Wilton, just outside Egremont. His next victim was Garry Purdham, 31, a former professional rugby league player, who played for Whitehaven and Egremont as well as Workington. Mr Purdham had been mending a fence on his father Jack’s farm near Gosforth. Bird fired twice and killed him.
Driving on to Seascale, Bird collided with a Land Rover being driven by Harry Berger, the landlord of the Woolpack pub at Boot. Bird fired two shots through his window. Mr Berger was hit but survived. Moments later, as he approached the village of Drigg, he came across Jane Robinson, 66, who was delivering catalogues. Bird passed and opened fire, killing her. Moments later Michael Pike was shot dead as he cycled past. Heading out of the village Bird opened fire once more, hitting a woman named locally as Jacqui Lewis.
It is believed Bird’s bloodbath claimed 12 victims and left 25 wounded with eight people in hospital, three fighting for their lives. By 12.41pm, Bird would have heard radio reports naming him as the gunman. From Seascale, he made the short journey to the hamlet of Boot where he left his car, walked into to a wood where he shot himself in the head.
Those who knew Bird said he was a quiet, “normal bloke” with two grown-up sons, one of whom had just become a father. He lived alone in Rowrah, near Frizington, Cumbria, and liked tinkering with his car. Bird was teased over his sex life and for being a “mummy’s boy”, later executing a friend who had taunted him for being a failure with women.
After a three hour manhunt, police found the serial killer lying in a pool of his own blood at 1.40pm.
-articles by Chris Riches, Rod Mills and Nick Fagge rewritten and adapted by admin-