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BIRD'S SONS PAY TRIBUTE AT FUNERAL.

MASS killer Derrick Bird's sons last night paid tribute to him at his funeral, the final of 13 services held in just a week.

Friends and some relatives gathered to commemorate his life at Distington Crematorium, also the venue for funerals for several of Bird's victims.

Those attending included his sons Graeme and Jamie Bird, their mother Linda Mills and uncle Brian Bird.

Other family members stayed away, including his nieces Rachel, 28, Tracey, 26, and Katie, 19. Their father David - Bird's twin brother - was the first victim in his shooting rampage across Cumbria on June 2. At yesterday's funeral, family friend Brian Spencer read a statement on behalf of Graeme, 28, and Jamie, 16.

He said: "Derrick was many things to many people. But to us he was just dad. To us he was a loving and caring family man.

"He was well known and well respected in our local community. We will never understand what was going on in his mind on Wednesday June 2. Or why he killed and injured so many people.

"All we can say is that we are utterly devastated by his actions and deeply saddened by the legacy of pain he has left behind.

"Our love, thoughts and sympathies are with all the families that are suffering at this time.

"We will miss our dad greatly and hope that we, along with all the other families who have been impacted by this crime, can somehow move on and begin to rebuild our lives."

Bird's nieces issued a statement which read: "We send our love and support to our grandma, auntie, uncle and cousins on this difficult day.

"As you can imagine this has been a very hard time for our family and at this present moment we do not feel physically and emotionally strong enough to attend the funeral."

About 80 people attended the 50-minute service.

Three floral tributes, made from white carnations and roses spelling out 'Dad', 'Grandad' and 'Dear Friend' were placed by the coffin during the service.

Bird's mother, Mary, 87, was also too distraught to attend.

Instead, a parallel memorial service was conducted in her bedroom at Cockermouth Hospital.

Mrs Bird will write to the victims' families.

Rev Jim Marshall, who conducted the service, said he hoped it would give a sense of hope for the community as well as individuals struggling to come to terms with the events of June 2. The final funeral for Bird's victims was held in Luton yesterday. Estate agent Jamie Clark was driving through Seascale from a viewing when Bird shot him.

The day of carnage began when Bird, a self-employed cabbie from Rowrah, shot dead his brother at his home in Lamplugh.

He then killed their family solicitor, Kevin Commons, 60, before going on a threehour shooting spree around Cumbria.

After claiming the lives of the last of his 12 victims Bird turned his gun on himself.

CAPTION(S):

'DEVASTATED': Graeme Bird arrives for the funeral of dad Derrick (inset)
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Publication:Coventry Evening Telegraph (England)
Date:Jun 19, 2010
Words:498
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