Cumbria shootings: Timeline of Derrick Bird's rampage


This is a timeline of the events on 2 June 2010 during which taxi driver Derrick Bird shot dead 12 people and injured 11 more in west Cumbria.

The rampage ended when 52-year-old Bird took his own life.


Bird leaves his home in Rowrah and drives his silver Citroen Picasso to his twin David's home at High Trees Farm in Lamplugh. Bird kills his brother by shooting him several times in the head and body. David Bird's body is not found until later.

Initial reports suggest the brothers had rowed over a will before the killing. The inquests later hear that Derrick Bird also thought his twin was conspiring with family solicitor Kevin Commons to have him arrested over tax issues.

0514 BST

Seen later in CCTV footage, Bird drives down the single-track access road to the farmhouse of Mr Commons in Yeat House Road, Frizington. Various people, mostly dog walkers, see Bird lurking outside the house during the next four hours or so.

1013 BST

image captionSolicitor Kevin Commons was shot dead in his driveway

Cumbria Police receive the first call reporting shots fired in Frizington.

Attempting to leave home in his car, 60-year-old Mr Commons finds his driveway blocked by Bird's car.

Bird fires his shotgun twice at Mr Commons, hitting him once in the shoulder. Neighbour Susan Rooney sees Mr Commons staggering back up his drive, pursued by another man.

Armed officers are sent and find Mr Commons dead in the driveway of his home, having been shot in the head.

1030 - 1135 BST

This period is labelled the "second phase" of the killings by police, in which Bird - armed with a 12-bore sawn-off shotgun and a .22 rifle - shoots dead 10 people during a 45-mile rampage. He repeatedly calls victims over to his car to ask the time, before shooting them.

He also visits the home of Neil Jacques, 52, who lived a few doors from Bird in Rowrah, to collect a gun he had left with his friend but who is out. Mr Jacques' wife Carol does not have the key to unlock the cabinet where the gun is being kept. She offers Bird a cup of tea. He declines and leaves quickly.

1033 BST

A second call made to police reports shots fired in Duke Street, Whitehaven, where taxi driver Darren Rewcastle dies after being shot at point-blank range.

Cumbria Police deploy every armed officer in the county in response to the shootings.

image captionDerrick Bird killed fellow taxi driver Darren Rewcastle in Whitehaven town centre

Bird goes on to shoot taxi drivers Don Reid, Paul Wilson and Terry Kennedy, but they all survive.

It later emerges at the inquests that Bird had complained of other drivers at the Whitehaven rank "winding him up" and threatened "they are going to get it big style" days before the killings.

Paul Wilson, who is shot in the face, later said he thought it had been "a prank" until he felt with his hand and realised he was bleeding. Terry Kennedy has to have his right hand amputated after he puts it up in self-defence.

Mr Reid, 55, who later said he had "dived like Superman" to escape, is shot in the back. He crawls away as Bird comes towards him with a weapon raised, before Bird gets back into his car and drives away.

After hearing shots fired, a neighbourhood police officer, based at Whitehaven police station, in Scotch Street, sees a grey taxi with a shotgun pointing out of the front passenger window.

After sending out an alert, he jumps into a vehicle driven by a Whitehaven man and follows Bird's taxi.

The gunman appears to slow down as he passes another taxi travelling in the opposite direction. As the two cars draw alongside each other, Bird is seen shooting at the passing motorist.

As the officer stops to administer first aid to the injured man and his female passenger, who is also shot, two other officers in a police van take over the pursuit.

image captionDerrick Bird's twin brother David was shot 11 times in his bedroom

Bird pulls into a driveway, turns and points his gun at the unarmed officers. As they are blocked from reversing by traffic, Bird drives off at speed.

The officers' chase, in a vehicle deemed unsuitable for high-speed pursuit, is unsuccessful.

Bird drives south, firing at will as he goes. RAF helicopters are drafted in to help police with a "massive land and air search".

Public warnings are issued to people in Whitehaven, Egremont and Seascale to stay inside.

1100 BST

Neighbour Ron Pattison finds David Bird's semi-naked body slumped on the floor of his blood-stained bedroom. He has been shot 11 times.

1100 - 1135 BST

Bird continues to murder and injure:

  • Kenneth Fishburn, 71, a retired Sellafield worker, is shot dead in Egremont
  • As she walks home in the town with her shopping, Susan Hughes, 57, is shot in the head and chest and is killed

In the village of Wilton, Bird sounds his car horn outside the home of Jason Carey, a member of a diving club where Bird had fallen out with the committee. By the time Mr Carey's wife, Deborah, gets to the door, Mr Bird has driven off.

At the bottom of the Careys' drive, Bird kills retired couple Jennifer and James Jackson.

He shoots Mrs Jackson, 68, once with his shotgun and twice with his .22 rifle. He shoots Mr Jackson, 67, once, killing him instantly.

  • Part-time mole catcher Isaac Dixon, 65, is killed while talking with a farmer near Carleton Wood
  • Farmer and semi-professional rugby league player Garry Purdham, 31, is shot dead as he works in a field near Gosforth

Estate agent Jamie Clark, 23, is driving through Seascale when he is shot at, although it is unclear whether he is killed by Bird's bullets or the resulting crash in Gosforth Road.

Moments later, Bird shoots Harry Berger, 40, after Mr Berger reverses to let him through a tunnel under a railway bridge. The pub landlord loses two fingers, but survives.

1127 BST

image captionJane Robinson was the last person to be killed by Bird

Bird's last two victims are shot within seconds of each other, on the same street in Seascale.

Retired Michael Pike, 64, is killed while riding his bike in Drigg Road. Witness Gillian Culshaw, who is walking down the road with her young children, sees Bird's car touch the bike's back wheel. Then she hears two loud "pop" sounds, and sees Mr Pike slumped against a wall.

Further up the road Jane Robinson, 66, is out delivering home shopping catalogues. She is shot at point-blank range.

1133 BST

Armed officers Pc Phillip Lewis and Pc Andrew Laverack radio in details of driving round a bend at 60mph in their armed response vehicle (ARV) to see Bird pass them going in the opposite direction.

Pc Lewis slams on the brakes and turns the car around to follow the gunman, but the ARV is held up in roadworks and Bird disappears.

Pc Lewis told the inquests that communications with police control and other officers was "difficult" as airwaves kept "jamming", and he could not immediately radio in the initial sighting of Bird's car.

Just over a minute later, the officers report losing sight of Bird.

The killer heads for the Eskdale Valley where he opens fire on six more random targets, injuring three people.

Bird pulls up near tourist Samantha Chrystie and asks her if she is having a nice day before shooting her in the face.

"I must then have fallen on my side because I can remember thinking: 'Lie still, he will think I am dead and won't come back and shoot me'," the 30-year-old teacher, from Kent, told the inquests.

Bird drives on to a beauty spot near Boot known as Doctor Bridge. He has almost run out of petrol, has no shotgun rounds left and a front wheel of his car is missing a tyre.

Lee Turner, on holiday with his wife and their two sons aged three and four, offers to help but Bird mumbles: "No, go."

1230 BST

Bird is seen alive for the last time by a known eyewitness.

Police find Bird's car dumped in Boot with one gun inside, and realise he is on foot with a rifle.

1241 BST

Cumbria Police officially name the gunman they are looking for as Derrick Bird, 52, from Rowrah, near Frizington, and issue a photograph of him.

1330 BST

Sellafield nuclear plant, close to the village of Seascale, goes into lockdown.

Bird is found dead in a wooded area near Boot.

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