Thursday, 2 June 2011

Cumbria shootings

Cumbria shootings

Western Cumbria
Location Copeland, Cumbria, England, UK
Date 2 June 2010
14:00
Attack type Spree shooting, murder-suicide
Weapon(s) Shotgun and .22 rifle
Death(s) 13 (including perpetrator)
Injured 11
Perpetrator Derrick Bird
The Cumbria shootings were a killing spree that occurred on 2 June 2010 when a lone gunman, Derrick Bird, killed 12 people and injured 11 others before killing himself in the county of Cumbria, United Kingdom.
The series of attacks began in mid-morning in Lamplugh and moved to Frizington, Whitehaven, Egremont, Gosforth and Seascale, sparking a major manhunt by Cumbria Constabulary.
Bird, a 52-year-old local taxi driver, was later found dead in a wooded area, having abandoned his vehicle in the village of Boot. Two weapons that appeared to have been used were recovered. There were 30 different crime scenes investigated. Police confirmed it was the worst incident of mass shooting in Britain since the Dunblane massacre of 1996.
The Queen paid tribute to the victims and The Prince of Wales later visited Whitehaven in the wake of the tragedy. The Prime Minister, David Cameron and Home Secretary Theresa May also visited West Cumbria. A memorial fund has been set up to aid victims and affected communities.

Timeline

Targeted killings
1. David Bird, 52, killed at Lamplugh, twin brother of the gunman.
2. Kevin Commons, 60, killed at Frizington, gunman's family solicitor.
3. Darren Rewcastle, 43, killed at Whitehaven, fellow taxi driver known to the gunman.
Random killings
4. Susan Hughes, 57, killed at Egremont.
5. Kenneth Fishburn, 71, killed at Egremont.
6. Jennifer Jackson, 68, killed at Wilton, wife of James Jackson.
7. James Jackson, 67, killed at Wilton, husband of Jennifer Jackson.
8. Isaac Dixon, 65, killed at Carleton.
9. Garry Purdham, 31, killed at Gosforth, brother of England rugby league captain Rob Purdham.
10. Jamie Clark, 23, killed at Seascale.
11. Michael Pike, 64, killed at Seascale.
12. Jane Robinson, 66, killed at Seascale.
Perpetrator
13. Derrick Bird, 52, suicide at Boot.

Targeted shootings

The incident began when Bird, a self-employed taxi driver from Rowrah, first shot dead his twin brother, David Bird, in Lamplugh, then shot dead the family solicitor, Kevin Commons, in Frizington. At 10.20 BST the police were telephoned. Bird then moved on toward Whitehaven. At 10:33, there was a shooting incident close to the taxi rank in Whitehaven. It emerged that the suspect, later identified as Bird, had shot dead a taxi driver who was known to him, and that he had shot several others.

Random shootings

Soon after this, residents in the towns of Whitehaven, Egremont and Seascale were urged to stay indoors after the shots were heard and there were further shooting incidents. He drove through several local towns firing apparently at random. In Egremont, Bird killed a further two people on the streets. A couple were both shot dead in the village of Wilton and a mole-catcher in a field in Carleton was also killed. A former semi-professional rugby league player, Garry Purdham, was shot dead outside the Red Admiral Hotel at Boonwood, near Gosforth. Bird also killed three people in Seascale: two pedestrians and a man driving a car. The motorist died, although it was not clear at first whether he died from gunshot wounds or the resultant car crash.

Search for the suspect

Bird was last seen alive at 12.30; shortly after 12:30 police confirmed that there had been a number of fatalities and that they were searching for a suspect.
Police announced they were searching for the driver of a dark grey Citro├źn Xsara Picasso, driven by the suspect identified as Bird. Bird reportedly abandoned his car in the village of Boot and continued to evade the police on foot.

During the manhunt, the gates of the nearby Sellafield nuclear reprocessing plant were closed as a precaution, and the afternoon shift was told not to come to work. This was the first lock-down in the history of the plant.

Aftermath

At 15:00, Prime Minister David Cameron, taking his first session of Prime Minister's Questions, announced that "at least five" people had died, including the gunman. Later that evening, a police press conference in Whitehaven announced that 12 people had been killed, that a further 11 people were injured, and that the suspect had killed himself. They also confirmed that two weapons had been used by the suspect in the attacks and that thirty different crime scenes were being investigated.[3]
Over the next few hours, Bird's shooting of his brother and solicitor was revealed. The police stated that the shootings took place along a 15-mile (24 km) stretch of the Cumbrian coastline. Helicopters from neighbouring police forces were used in the manhunt, while those from the RAF Search and Rescue Force and the Yorkshire Air Ambulance responded to casualties. A major incident was declared by North Cumbria University Hospitals NHS Trust at West Cumberland Hospital, Whitehaven, with the accident and emergency department at the Cumberland Infirmary, Carlisle, on full incident stand-by.
Bird had been a licensed firearms holder and the incident sparked debate about further gun control in the United Kingdom; the previous Dunblane and Hungerford shootings had led to increased firearms controls.

Perpetrator

Derrick Bird
Born 27 November 1957
Whitehaven, Cumbria
Died 2 June 2010 (aged 52)
Boot, Cumbria
Status Deceased
Occupation Taxi driver
Children 2 sons
Derrick Bird was a son of Joseph (1916–1998) and Mary Bird. He had a twin brother, David (1957–2010) and an older brother. He lived alone in Rowrah, and had two sons with a woman from whom he separated in the mid 1990s. He became a grandfather in May 2010, and was variously described as a popular and quiet man who worked as a self-employed taxi driver in Whitehaven. There are unconfirmed reports that he had previously sought help from a local hospital due to his fragile mental state. Bird had held a shotgun certificate since 1974 and had renewed it a number of times, most recently in 2005, and had held a firearms certificate for a rifle from 2007 onwards. He was being investigated by HM Revenue and Customs. The body of Bird was formally identified at Furness General Hospital in Barrow-in-Furness, and he was cremated at a private service on 18 June 2010.

Possible motives

There has been speculation that Bird may have had a grudge against people associated with the Sellafield nuclear power plant that he worked for as a joiner, resigning in 1990 due to an allegation of theft of wood from the plant. He was subsequently convicted, and given a 12 month suspended sentence. Three of the dead were former employees although there is no evidence that any were involved with his resignation.
A fellow taxi driver, who described himself as one of Bird's best friends, and was shot in the hand, has claimed that Bird had a relationship with a Thai girl he met on holiday in Pattaya, Thailand. It has been further claimed by another friend of Bird that he had sent £1,000 to the girl, who subsequently ended their relationship via a text message; he added that Bird had been "made a fool out of".
It has also been speculated that Bird had been involved with a family dispute over his father's will. The speculation was heightened when it was revealed that Bird had targeted both his twin, David, and the family's solicitor, Kevin Commons, in his attacks, killing both.
Police investigating the killings have also found that Bird was the subject of an ongoing tax investigation by HM Revenue and Customs for tax evasion. This suggests that he could have been pressurised by the threat of possible future prosecution and punishment at the time of the killings, suggesting a possible cause of his actions. According to Mark Cooper, a fellow taxi driver who had known him for 15 years, Bird had accumulated £60,000 in a secret bank account and was worried he would be sent to prison for hiding the cash from HM Revenue & Customs.

Reactions

Official responses and visits

Prime Minister, David Cameron was joined by several other MPs in expressing the House of Commons members' shock and horror at the events during Prime Minister's Questions.
On the evening of 2 June, the Queen said she was "deeply shocked" by the shootings and shared the nation's "grief and horror".
The Home Secretary, Theresa May MP expressed her regret at the deaths and paid tribute to the response of the emergency services. The Cabinet met to discuss the shootings and May later made a statement on the Cumbria incident to the House of Commons on 3 June 2010. Cameron and May visited the affected region on 4 June 2010 to meet victims, officials and local people.
Jamie Reed, the local Member of Parliament for Copeland, called the incident the "blackest day in our community's history".
Prince Charles visited Whitehaven on 11 June 2010 to meet members of the community affected by the tragedy.

BBC One altered their programming to broadcast two BBC News Specials about the shootings, at 14:15 and 19:30 on the same day. The ITV continuing drama, Coronation Street was cancelled on 2, 3 and 4 June as it contained a storyline involving a death in the Lake District and a violent storyline featuring a gun siege in a factory. The episodes were rescheduled to run the following week due to the Cumbria massacre. An episode of the Channel 4 panel game You Have Been Watching, which was due to be broadcast on 3 June 2010, was postponed because it was a crime special. In addition, pop singer Lady Gaga came under criticism after performing a murder scene at her concert in Manchester – as part of her Monster Ball Tour – just hours after the massacre. Comedian Frankie Boyle also attracted criticism for referring to the Cumbria tragedy on the day after the massacre. The Times journalist Giles Coren suggested Derrick Bird should read a copy of his book on anger management. He later apologised. Both Coren's initial remark and subsequent apology were made on his Twitter feed.


Memorials

On 9 June 2010, a week after the incident, memorial services were held in the West Cumbria towns affected by the shootings followed by a minute's silence at midday. The minute's silence for the Cumbria victims was also marked prior to David Cameron's second Prime Minister's Questions in Parliament. The funerals of the majority of Bird's victims were held at various churches in West Cumbria.

Memorial fund

A memorial fund has been established by the Cumbria Community Foundation to aid victims and communities affected by the West Cumbria shootings.

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