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THE FANTASY OF EVIL MAN THAT LEFT 12 PEOPLE DEAD; Inquest ruling on Cumbrian gunman Bird.

Byline: JANINE YAQOOB

TAXI driver Derrick Bird unlawfully killed 12 people before turning the gun on himself, an inquest ruled.

The 52-year-old went on a 45-mile shooting rampage through west Cumbria in June last year, killing several people including his twin brother David and Garston-born grandad Mike Pike, who was blasted to death while taking his daily morning bicycle ride through Seascale.

Bird then turned his rifle on himself and committed suicide.

A jury of six women and five men, sitting in Workington, Cumbria, returned the verdicts after listening to four weeks of harrowing evidence.

The inquest had heard Bird shot his own twin brother, David, several times, went on to gun down solicitor Kevin Commons, 60, and then drove to a taxi rank in Whitehaven town centre where he blasted taxi driver Darren Rewcastle, 43, at point-blank range.

He had shot another taxi driver, Liverpool man Don Reid, in the back just a minute earlier.

Bird then got out of his vehicle and stalked Croxteth-born Mr Reid before he decided to turn back and drive off again.

The troubled dad-of-two then randomly targeted strangers as he travelled out of town.

He firstly killed mum-of-two Susan Hughes, 57, before murdering retired security worker Kenneth Fishburn, 71; retired Sellafield worker and part-time mole-catcher Isaac Dixon, 65; retired couple James and Jennifer Jackson, aged 67 and 68; farmer and rugby league player Garry Purdham, 31; and estate agent Jamie Clark, 23.

Gunman Derrick Bird blasted the final two of his 12 victims to death within seconds of each other, with police closing in.

Both Garston-born Mr Pike, 64, a former pipe fitter, and pensioner Jane Robinson, 66, were gunned down within a few hundred yards.

Bird also injured 11 others in his shooting spree in Lamplugh, Frizington, Whitehaven, Egremont, Gosforth and Seascale before he was found dead in woodland near Boot - more than three hours after police discovered his first known victim.

Days before, an increasingly agitated Bird, of Rowrah, near Frizington, was wrongly convinced he was going to prison because he owed up to pounds 25,000 in unpaid tax.

Psychologist Dr Adrian West said Bird was a "bitter, resentful and depressed man, blaming the rest of society for his failures".

His delusions enabled him to "enact vengeful, retaliatory fantasies" and to seek notoriety in causing grief to his community, "believing that people would never forget him".

Weeks before the shootings, he was heard to comment that "Whitehaven will be as famous as Dunblane".

An independent review of how Cumbria Constabulary responded on the day ruled that police could not have stopped Bird any sooner.

The coroner at yesterday's inquest raised concerns about the response of the emergency services.

West Cumbria Coroner David Roberts said he would be writing to the Government to highlight the dangers of a national policy preventing ambulance services from entering a scene until it has been cleared by police.

This policy meant paramedics were delayed for hours trying to reach the victims of Bird.

email janine.yaqoob@liverpool.com 0151 472 2488

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GUNMAN: Derrick Bird killed 12 victims unlawfully VICTIM: Garston-born grandad Mike Pike
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Publication:Liverpool Echo (Liverpool, England)
Date:Mar 26, 2011
Words:520
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