Inquests in Cumbria massacre case to open

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The inquests into the deaths of mass killer Derrick Bird and the 12 victims he gunned down begin this week.

Taxi driver Bird, 52, went on a shooting rampage as he drove around west Cumbria on June 2 last year before he turned a gun on himself.

The hearing in Workington, which opens on Tuesday, will analyse all 13 deaths in chronological order and is expected to last up to six weeks.

Up to 75 witnesses are expected to give evidence while statements from others will be read out.

David Roberts, HM Coroner for North and West Cumbria, has ruled it was not helpful for the flow of the inquiry to separate Bird’s inquest from his victims as he was inextricably linked to their fates.

A key part of the evidence will be the examination of the murderer’s state of mind on the day, in particular the events leading up to the moment he claimed the life of his first victim – his twin brother David.

In order, the hearings will investigate the deaths of David Bird, 52, Bird’s solicitor Kevin Commons, 60, Bird’s taxi driver colleague Darren Rewcastle, 43, retired security worker Kenneth Fishburn, 71, mother-of-two Susan Hughes, 57, retired couple James and Jennifer Jackson, aged 67 and 68, part-time mole catcher Isaac Dixon, 65, farmer and rugby league player Garry Purdham, 31, retired Sellafield worker Michael Pike, 64, pensioner Jane Robinson, 66, estate agent Jamie Clark, 23, and finally Bird himself.

Bird, from Rowrah, also injured 11 others in his shooting spree in Lamplugh, Frizington, Whitehaven, Egremont, Gosforth and Seascale before he was found dead in a wooded area near Boot.