Cumbria shootings dominates Thursday papers


A series of shootings by a gunman in Cumbria, which left 12 people dead, dominates Thursday's papers.

The Independent describes the shootings by 52-year-old taxi driver Derrick Bird as "a Cumbrian horror story".

It says Whitehaven has joined the ranks of Dunblane, Hungerford and Omagh as "geographic shorthand for mass murder".

In search of a motive, the Daily Star speculates that "sex taunts" turned Bird into a "crazed killer", while the Daily Telegraph blames a family row.

'Anguished' private life

Many papers profile Derrick Bird in an attempt to try to understand why the taxi driver embarked on a killing rampage.

Friends tell the Guardian he was a "quiet grandad" and others tell the Times that "Birdy", as he was known, was "modest, unassuming and polite".

But the papers discover a different Derrick Bird to the one described by friends.

A neighbour tells the Daily Mail that after he split with his partner - and mother of his two sons - he put on weight, became moody and appeared to have low self-esteem.

And the Sun reports that an attack by a taxi fare-dodger three years ago left him "shattered, nervous and anxious".

Wine drained

Simon Hoggart, writing in the Guardian, reviews the first prime minister's questions of the David Cameron era.

Bemoaning the lack of drama, he said it was "dull, with all the excitement of a game of cribbage".

And the BBC's decision to end the world's longest-running televised comedy series, Last of the Summer Wine, after 37 years is widely reported.

For the Daily Express it is "dread news". The paper believes its axing reflects our "impulsive times".

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