Belfast Telegraph

Home News

Services to remember Cumbria gun victims

Towns and villages left stunned by Derrick Bird's killing spree are to fall silent - a week on from the carnage which left 12 dead.

Memorial services will be held throughout west Cumbria where father-of-two Bird ran amok, firing at friends, family and passers-by.

Cabbie Bird first killed his twin brother David and family lawyer Kevin Commons before seemingly looking to settle scores at the Whitehaven taxi rank where he worked. Here Darren Rewcastle died.

Crazed Bird then drove through the countryside taking potshots at random people. His rampage only ended when he abandoned his car and made off on foot into a remote wooded area where he took his own life. To mark the tragedy, today's services will begin and end at the same time starting at 11.45am and culminating with a minute's silence at midday.

Copeland councillor Cath Giel said: "We realise people in the borough are in shock and need a chance to reflect on these terrible events. We hope these gatherings, and the minute's silence as a whole, will allow people time to come to terms with their own thoughts. It will also allow us to collectively say, as a community, that we are thinking of the victims and all those affected."

In Egremont, where victims Susan Hughes, 57, a mother of two, and former soldier Kenneth Fishburn, 71, lived and were killed, Mayor of Copeland, Cllr Mike McVeigh, will speak at the war memorial service. A service will also be held at Frizington War Memorial, near the home of Mr Commons, who was shot dead by Bird on the morning of the rampage. Rugby player Garry Purdham, 31, will be remembered at a service in Gosforth village.

In Seascale, a service will be held to remember 64-year-old Michael Pike, who was shot dead while cycling, Jane Robinson, who lived in the village with her elderly twin Barrie and was killed while delivering catalogues, and 23-year-old estate agent Jamie Clarke. Other services will be held in Boot, where the killer's body was found, Cleator Moor, where his son Graeme, 28, lives and Millom. More than 1,500 people turned out for open-air services in Whitehaven and Seascale on Sunday.

The funeral of Mr Purdham will be held on Thursday, followed by the private cremation of Mr Commons. The reason Bird flipped remains unclear and police are continuing to trawl through reams of documents and a computer seized from the killer's home.

It is believed Bird held a simmering grudge against his twin after he was snubbed in father Joe's will. In 1998 when Joe died his wealth passed to his wife - except for a £25,000 payout to David.

Friends have also spoken about an Inland Revenue investigation into a mystery £60,000 in Bird's bank account - and his fears he would be locked up. Taxi drivers who worked with Bird also claim he was involved in an ongoing spat about some cabbies taking fares from the back of the queue.

Daily News Headlines Newsletter

Today's news headlines, directly to your inbox.


From Belfast Telegraph