Cumbria gunman Derrick Bird 'was a lovely man'

By Caroline Henderson
BBC News, Whitehaven


Friends of the gunman who killed 12 people and injured 25 others in a rampage across Cumbria have been speaking of their shock at the tragedy.

Taxi driver Derrick Bird shot dead a colleague in Whitehaven before driving through the countryside killing others in an apparently random attack.

People living in Whitehaven who knew him described him as "mild-mannered" and "the loveliest man you could meet."

Mr Bird's body was found in a wooded area in Boot in the Lake District.

Taxi driver Alan Mossop said: "He just doesn't seem the type. I found him to be a pleasant man."

Mr Mossop's cousin Chloe Walker, 16, was killed in the Keswick School bus crash a week ago.

He attended her funeral in nearby Distington on Wednesday.

Speaking of the shooting, he said: "It's just terrible what is happening. It's a tragedy."

Richard Kirkbride, a regular at the Pack Horse pub near Duke Street, where the first victim was found, said: "He was mild mannered and down to earth. He was the nicest bloke you would wish to meet. All of his mates would tell you that."

Janice Goodwin, 51, who works at the town's Casa Romana restaurant, said "Everyone is feeling just horrible. My daughter knew him. She said he was a lovely man, so we are just in shock."

Five victims were named locally as Darren Rewcastle, Garry Purdham, Kenneth Fishburn, Jane Robinson and Michael Pike.

Mr Rewcastle was a taxi driver. Mr Purdham was a farmer's son and is believed to have had two young children.

Mr Fishburn, from Egremont, is understood to have been a retired security worker at the nearby Sellafield nuclear site.