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
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
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
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
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
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.