Gun killer Bird in 'Dunblane' boast
Gunman Derrick Bird boasted "Whitehaven will be as famous as Dunblane" just weeks before he massacred 12 people, an inquest has heard.
Bird, 52, gave the chilling warning in the foyer of a swimming pool in Hensingham, near Whitehaven, where he had been diving while training with Solway Sub Aqua Club.
Peter McLean, also a member of the club, told the hearing the pair had been talking about a boat trip that taxi-driver Bird was planning when - out of the blue - he suddenly made the remark.
"He turned his back on me and said Whitehaven will be as famous as Dunblane," Mr McLean said.
After Coroner David Roberts asked the witness what his reaction was, Mr McLean replied: "'Infamous, you mean,' I said. I only know Dunblane for one thing. He was walking away and he turned around and said 'You will see soon enough'.
Mr Roberts asked him: "At the time, what did you make of that remark?"
Mr McLean replied: "At first I thought it was a sinister thing to say, but it is such a weird thing to say. I couldn't understand why he said it."
"When I went down to the pub after the pool, I mentioned it to a few people. Everybody thought it was such a weird thing to come out with. At the time it did not mean anything to me. I told my wife when I got home. It was such a weird thing to say, it had no relevance."
Mr McLean was giving evidence on the second day of the inquest into the deaths of all 12 victims and Bird following the massacre on June 2 last year. The witness said he could not remember exactly when Bird made the remark but it was four to six weeks before the murders, so had to be some time in April.
Mr McLean added that he knew of Dunblane only through the massacre of children there, when crazed gunman Thomas Hamilton shot 16 youngsters and a teacher dead at a school in the Scottish town in March 1996.