Silence for Derrick Bird shooting victims

The Westmorland Gazette: Silence for Derrick Bird shooting victims Silence for Derrick Bird shooting victims

Families of some of the 12 victims of mass gunman Derrick Bird joined an understated commemoration of the first anniversary of the shootings in Cumbria today.

Relatives of Bird's twin brother, David, and taxi driver Darren Rewcastle were among hundreds of people who observed a two-minute silence of remembrance at noon in Whitehaven.

A similar gesture was held at the same time in Egremont, where five of Bird's victims lived.

There were no other obvious shows of public remembrance other than flags in the area lowered to half-mast.

People gathered for a public show of support for the victims' families but otherwise life went on as usual in the town centre during the busy half-term break - just as it did on the morning of June 2, 2010, until Bird drove by the taxi rank in Duke Street and started shooting.

As midday approached, hundreds of mourners made their way to the gardens of St Nicholas Church, summoned by town crier Rob Romano.

As a church bell tolled, the vicar of Whitehaven, the Rev John Bannister, read out the victims' names.

The relatives - David Bird's wife Sue and daughters Tracey Stephenson, Rachel and Katie Bird; and Mr Rewcastle's mother Betty Scoones; stepfather Ted Scoones and sister Sharon Moore - stood on the memorial to the 1,200 men, women and children killed in the town's coal mines between 1597 and 1987.

Bird, 52, first shot his brother, David, went on to gun down solicitor Mr Commons, 60, and then drove to Duke Street taxi rank where he blasted taxi driver Mr Rewcastle, 43, at point-blank range.

The troubled father-of-two then randomly targeted strangers as he travelled out of town.

He killed mother-of-two Susan Hughes, 57; retired security worker Kenneth Fishburn, 71; retired Sellafield employee and part-time mole-catcher Isaac Dixon, 65; retired couple James and Jennifer Jackson, 67 and 68; farmer and rugby league player Garry Purdham, 31; estate agent Jamie Clark, 23; retired Sellafield worker Mike Pike, 64; and pensioner Jane Robinson, 66.

Bird, who also injured 11 other people, repeatedly stopped his grey Citroen Picasso, called victims over as if to ask the time, and then simply shot them in the face.

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