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Cumbria shootings: Victim profiles


More details are emerging about the 12 people shot dead in Cumbria on Wednesday by Derrick Bird, as the victims' families, friends and colleagues pay tribute to their loved ones.

David Bird

image captionDavid Bird was killed in his home by his twin brother

The first victim of the shootings was 52-year-old David Bird, Derrick Bird's twin brother.

There have been reports that the brothers had rowed over a will before the killing at High Trees Farm in Lamplugh.

David owned the farmhouse and had also sold part of his land for a development of four detached homes.

However, David Bird's three daughters, Rachel, 28, Tracey, 26, and Katie, 19, dismissed any suggestion that the brothers had been involved in a feud.

In a statement issued on their behalf by the police, the women said: "We are utterly devastated about the death of our dad. He was the nicest man you could ever meet.

"He was a loving husband and doting dad and granda. We would like to take this opportunity to say there was absolutely no family feud.

"Our dad's only downfall was to try and help his brother."

They said their thoughts were with the families and friends of the others killed in the massacre.

Joy Ryan, a cousin of the Bird twins, also dismissed suggestions of a family feud, saying: "Maybe a row that went on the night before, not a feud."

She had earlier said the Birds' mother was stunned by what had happened.

She said Mary Bird was repeatedly asking to speak to her sons after hearing what had happened and could not make any sense of the tragedy.

Kevin Joseph Commons

Police have said that Kevin Commons, a local solicitor who had represented the Bird family and was good friends with David Bird, was also one of those who was killed.

Mr Commons, 60, was a senior partner at KJ Commons & Co solicitors, which has offices in Whitehaven, Carlisle and Workington. He was found dead in the driveway of his house on Frizington Road, Frizington.

His friend, local businessman Gerard Richardson, described Mr Commons as "one of the hardest working people in the area".

"He's probably about the single most generous person I've ever met. Just a really, really nice character," he said.

"Certainly in his adversarial role you wouldn't want to cross him in a courtroom but [he was] just a really, really, lovely, warm fellow."

Speaking on behalf of KJ Commons, solicitor Tim Frost said staff were "deeply saddened" and his friends, family and colleagues needed time to "adjust to the horrific manner of his death".

He said: "Kevin was a man committed to the service of the local community here in west Cumbria and beyond, and his passing will leave a massive void in the legal community in particular as well as the local area in which he had made his home for many years."

Darren Rewcastle

image captionDarren Rewcastle was a taxi driver

Mr Rewcastle was killed as Bird produced a gun and shot fellow taxi drivers in Duke Street, Whitehaven.

One taxi driver, who did not want to be named, told BBC Radio 5 live that there had been an ongoing feud between Bird and Mr Rewcastle about picking up passengers from the back of the taxi rank in Duke Street.

He said the two had argued previously.

Mr Rewcastle's family have left flowers and messages at the spot where he died.

His parents wrote: "To our darling son Darren, sleep tight son, no-one can hurt you now. We love and miss you so much. Nana will be looking after you now."

Garry Purdham

The 31-year-old farmer and semi-professional rugby league player was shot while he worked in a field near Gosforth.

He was trimming hedges with his uncle shortly before midday when Bird drove past, wound down his car window and shot him.

In a statement released by Cumbria Police, his family said Cumbria had "lost one of its favourite sons" and his death had left a hole in the lives of his wife Ros, his sons Cameron, eight, and Flynn, two, his father Jack, mother Bridget, brother Rob and sister Becky.

They said: "He was loved dearly by all his family and everyone who knew him - a gentle giant who would do anything for anyone.

"His two boys, Cameron and Flynn, were his pride and joy.

"The other two loves of his life were rugby league and farming and he worked on his father's farm from the day he left school, never wanting to do anything else."

Mr Purdham had played for Great Britain Barla and toured Australia.

His family said: "After leaving Whitehaven, Garry transferred to Workington and then returned to Egremont Rangers. In recent times Garry had started coaching kids with Cameron in tow, and they both really loved it."

Workington Town Rugby League Club chairman David Bowden described him as "quite simply a gentleman and a pleasure to know".

"Everyone at the club is shocked and devastated to hear this unbelievable and tragic news," he said.

The club chairman added that Mr Purdham was "as honest and industrious on the pitch as indeed he was off it".

Mr Purdham's 30-year-old brother, Rob, captains Harlequins rugby league side in London and has been capped for England on five occasions. He has been given compassionate leave from his club and has travelled back to Cumbria.

Jane Elizabeth Robinson

The 66-year-old was shot dead just yards from the home she shared in Drigg Road, Seascale, with her twin sister.

image captionJane Robinson shared a home with her sister in Seascale

She was killed while going door to door delivering Betterware shopping catalogues

Barrie Robinson said her twin sister was the "best" she could have had.

She said: "Jane was such a caring, considerate and generous person in the local community and always had time to help people.

"She was the best sister I could ever have and, as twins, we were especially close.

"Her kindness to people also extended to animals and birds.

"For many years she worked tirelessly for the PDSA and later devoted her time to caring for birds and was especially fond of her pigeons.

"She was a real Seascale person and loved the area so much."

One local described the victim and her sister as "lovely ladies", adding: "Jane's sister will be devastated, heartbroken.

"You could not find two more gentle people than those two sisters."

Michael Pike

image captionMike Pike doted on his grandchildren

The 64-year-old was shot dead while riding a bicycle in Seascale, the village where he lived with his wife, Sheena, and 39-year-old son Jason.

His family called him a "kind, brave and generous person who achieved much more than he expected in his life".

A former shipbuilder in Liverpool, he worked as a fitter and then a trainer at the Sellafield nuclear plant. A trade union organiser, he spent seven years studying for an Open University degree when he reached the age of 40.

Jason Pike described his father as "a much-loved husband, father and grandfather" who had been "a happy man at the time he died and satisfied with the things he achieved".

Mr Pike's daughter, Jude Talbot, told BBC Radio 4's World at One she had called her mother at about 1300 BST after hearing about the shootings on the television news, but it was only at about 1600 BST that she had known for certain her father was among those killed.

She said Mr Pike had doted on his three grandchildren and that his family were set on celebrating his life as that is what he would have wished.

"That's the sort of person he was, he was a humanist, he thoroughly believed that we should celebrate life, not rake over coals. So that's what we are doing, we are focusing on my father and the happy times we've had with him."

His family said: "Mike was enjoying his retirement and was happier at this time than at any time before.

"He loved this area and spent much of his time walking and cycling locally. It is sad that his enjoyment of his well earned leisure was cut short.

"But he will always be remembered as the man he was, and the things he did in his life. He died a contented man and we are proud of him."

Kenneth Fishburn

Mr Fishburn, a retired security worker at nearby Sellafield, died in Egremont.

image captionKenneth Fishburn had lived in Egremont for more than 20 years

The 71-year-old was found dead on a bridge just 50 yards from his home in Bridge End.

In a statement released by Cumbria Police, his family described Mr Fishburn as a "quiet, private man" who "liked nothing better than a few bets and a game of snooker".

They said: "He was a lifetime army man having served 25 years in the forces, serving with the Durham Light Infantry which took him all over the world.

"A further five years were served as a reservist, serving six months each year with the UN peacekeeping force, again world wide."

They said he had lived in Egremont for more than 20 years.

Mourners have left flowers at the spot where he was killed.

Among them was Karl Scarr, 44, who said the victim had worked on the gates at Sellafield.

"After he retired I used to see him in town. He always said hello - he was a nice guy," he said.

Mr Fishburn was a regular at the town's Conservative Club, along with fellow victim Isaac Dixon.

Club steward Mark Hamilton said: "This has knocked us for six.

"Ken Fishburn was an affable bloke, he never harmed anybody, never had a bad word to say about anybody."

James and Jennifer Jackson

image captionJames and Jennifer Jackson were heavily involved in village life

Derrick Bird is reported to have shot Mrs Jackson in the street, then her husband - who used to work for the ambulance service - when he came looking for her.

Mrs Jackson, 68, and Mr Jackson, 67 of Stockbridge, Wilton, were believed to have been walking towards each other when they died.

The retired couple are said to have lived at the entrance to the hamlet of Wilton for many years, and had a son, Chris, and a daughter, Kathryn.

Mr Jackson was the chief station officer for the ambulance service at Keswick and Barrow, before working for Hartley's Ice Cream. His wife worked on the company's accounts.

A statement released on behalf of the family by the police, said: ""They were wonderful, quiet, loving people right at the heart of the communities of Haile and Wilton.

"Everyone here is in shock at this tragedy, trying to make sense of all that has happened. The community is close-knit and helps each other in tragedy."

The couple were members of the local over-60s group and the Haile Parochial Church Council, and were heavily involved in village life.

Mrs Jackson's family said: "She was gifted at gardening and flower arranging and gave generously of her talents."

Their friend Stan Reed called them a "wonderful couple".

A resident of Wilton, who asked not to be named, said: "There were none better.

"Jimmy had an operation a fortnight ago and was going for a walk, and she had just gone out for a paper. She went up the village to meet Jimmy and was shot."

On Sunday, a memorial service for the couple was held at Haile Parish Church where they regularly attended.

Rev Barbara Jeapes said: "I keep hearing stories of how supportive they were. One lady suffering a bereavement would go to their house for tea and cake and [James] would talk and joke to her, really helping her through the bereavement.

"They were a beautiful couple - very much loved."

Susan Hughes

The mother-of-two was killed in Egremont as she walked back to her home in Park View with her shopping.

image captionSusan Hughes had been out shopping when she was killed

The 57-year-old was found lying on the street in Orgill in Hagget End, with her shopping bags still in her hands.

In a statement read out by the Chief Constable of Cumbria, Craig Mackey, her family said she was a "proud and determined mother" who was "completely irreplaceable to her family and friends".

Her friends said she was private and quiet woman who spent a lot of time with her severely disabled daughter. She had another daughter, Melinda, who had just moved to Whitehaven.

Neighbour Alan Roberts said he would often have friendly chats with Ms Hughes "over the fence in the garden".

He said: "She visited her daughter daily, who was disabled. She had a part-time job but also cared for her daughter."

Passer-by Barrie Moss, 43, came across Ms Hughes immediately after she had been shot.

He said he called the police before he and a friend went over to try to help her.

"There was nothing we could do," he said.

Isaac Dixon

A part-time mole catcher who was nick-named "Spike", he was talking to a farmer when Bird shot him dead at the edge of a field in Carleton.

image captionFriends say Isaac Dixon was a gentleman

Mr Dixon, 65, leaves behind two sons, Martyn and Wayne, and six grandchildren. He lived alone in a flat in Beckgreen in Egremont.

The farmer was uninjured.

His niece, who did not want to be named, said Mr Dixon's taxi driver son Martin had known Bird, although Mr Dixon had never met his killer.

Mr Dixon's sister Margaret Earl said she was shocked as she had seen her brother on Wednesday morning, shortly before he was killed.

His brother Thomas, 64, said he believed Mr Dixon had been shot as he went to help a farmer in the valley.

"He would help anyone who asked him," he said.

His family said: "He could eat like a horse and always enjoyed his food. He always managed to retain his tall, lean figure though, which is how he gained his nickname, Spike."

Mr Dixon, a retired Sellafield process worker, was vice-chairman of the Egremont Conservative Club.

He organised regular Country and Western nights there and attended every function with his girlfriend Pat.

Steward Mark Hamilton said: "Mr Dixon was a nice, respectable fella. He was well liked in here.

"He will be greatly missed."

Mr Dixon's neighbour, Joan Ferguson, 64, also paid tribute to him.

She said: "He helped everybody, he was that sort of person. He was a gentleman. He did a lot for everybody, if anybody wanted him. He will be sadly missed."

Another neighbour Sandra Short, 62, said: "He was a really, really nice man, very quiet, he never caused any trouble or anything."

Jamie Clark

The 23-year-old estate agent was driving through Seascale when Bird shot at him.

image captionEstate agent Jamie Clark was working when he died

However it is not yet clear whether the gunfire or the subsequent crash in Gosforth Road killed Mr Clark.

He worked in Cockermouth for the company Belvoir and had moved to Carlisle from Buckinghamshire last year with his fiancee Leanne Jarman.

Miss Jarman, 21, said: "He was not just my fiance, but my closest friend.

"He is my life, my world, my everything. Taken too soon, he gave so many people love and joy.

"He touched so many lives, but he did not realise how cherished he was. We are all truly devastated."

Mr Clark's parents Richard and Jane said their lives would never be the same.

"He was the most wonderful, gentle, loving, considerate man. Much loved by us his parents, his brother and his fiancee and all his friends."

Belvoir manager Colin Belton said Mr Clark had been driving back from a viewing when he died.

His colleague Ryan Park said Mr Clark was one of the "nicest lads" he had met.

"He never said anything bad about anyone," he said. "We just can't believe it.

"We are absolutely gutted to have lost him and we are gutted for his partner, Leanne, and his parents."