Family feud, petty row linked to UK cabbie`s killing spree
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Last Updated: Thursday, June 03, 2010, 20:22
  
London: A bitter family row and a petty fight on a taxi rank led cab driver Derrick Bird to go on mass killing spree in county of Cumbria, leaving at least 12 dead and 25 injured before he turned the gun on himself in one of the worst mass killings in British history.

Police are today piecing together events that led to Bird embarking on a rampage that began near Whitehaven and ended when he committed suicide.

Police are exploring the theory that Bird was pushed over the edge by a row with his twin brother David over family finances. The investigation is likely to focus on claims that 52-year-old grandfather had been embroiled in a furious feud over his family's financial affairs.

The killings, the worst bloodbath since Dunblane in 1996, has prompted calls for tightening Britain's gun laws.

Bird gunned down his twin brother, David, and a local solicitor, Kevin Commons, at the start of a three-hour massacre across rural Cumbria, hitherto synonymous with the beauty and tranquillity of rural Britain, the land of William Wordsworth and the home of England's most celebrated national park.

Bird, who had armed himself with two weapons, also targeted colleagues with whom he had a row the previous night over stealing fares.

He had warned them: "There's going to be a rampage tomorrow," before returning to the cab rank in Whitehaven the following day where he shot three taxi drivers, two of them fatally.

The violence was so widespread and indiscriminate that police had to use a helicopter to find some bodies. There is still the possibility that not all Bird's victims have been found.

Police have confirmed that Bird had held a gun licence for 20 years. More than 100 detectives are working on the sprawling inquiry. They have already identified 30 separate crime scenes.

With a shotgun and a .22 rifle pointing from the window of his Citroen Picasso taxi, he went on a 32-km terror drive, killing another nine at random before shooting himself.

A further 25 people were injured with eight still in hospital today, three of them in a critical condition.

His youngest victim was today named as Jamie Clark. The 23-year-old estate agent was driving through Seascale on his way back to his office when Bird opened fire.

Solicitor Commons, who was believed to work for the Birds, was among the dead. The situation was apparently compounded by what Bird saw as taxi driver rivals "touting" unfairly for fares in Whitehaven.

After Tuesday night's row at the taxi rank, Bird is understood to have gone home and threatened to take his gun and shoot someone, only to be stopped by a friend.

He then went to a local hospital in a furious mood and asked for treatment from staff before being turned away.

Police are trying to piece together his exact movements that followed. It appears he began his rampage close to home, shooting his twin brother, David, who lived nearby in the village of Frizington.

He then lay in wait at his home for solicitor Commons, 60, who had made an appointment to visit him, and blasted him in the face.

He drove to Whitehaven to take deadly revenge on fellow taxi driver Darren Rewcastle outside the A2B Taxi rank where he worked.

Bird ended his killing spree after he drove south to the remote village of Boot. There he crashed his car and wandered off to the scenic moorland and woods where he shot himself.

Police said they were keeping a completely open mind over the motive but were examining 30 different crime scenes, bagging and labelling items of evidence.

Queen Elizabeth II followed Prime Minister David Cameron in expressing her "heartfelt sympathy" to the grieving. "I was deeply shocked by the appalling news from Cumbria," she said.

PTI


First Published: Thursday, June 03, 2010, 20:22


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