Right place, wrong time for tragic victims

A hackneyed phrase often attached to victims of sudden deaths from outside forces is they were in the wrong place at the wrong time.

In many cases the reality is they were in the right place, as pointed out at the inquests by the wife of farmer Garry Purdham.

Ros Purdham told the court: “Garry was just a very nice man who was in the right place at the wrong time. That’s all he was, where he should have been. He was not in the wrong place.”

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Mr Purdham was working in a field near his home on a hot summer morning when taxi driver Derrick Bird pulled up, had a brief conversation and then shot him dead.

All of Bird’s victims, randomly picked off after he left Whitehaven on June 2 last year, were where they should have been – in the small towns and villages of West Cumbria on country roads where life passes by unremarkably almost every day.

It was just another day for mother-of-two Susan Hughes who was returning home from the shops in Whitehaven. She was devoted to caring for her profoundly disabled youngest daughter and was not in work on June 2 because she had cut her hours to help her more.

It was the usual routine that day for pensioner Kenneth Fishburn, who was stepping out of his cottage for his daily pilgrimage to Ladbrokes bookmakers to pore over the Racing Post.

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And retired Sellafield worker Isaac Dixon was making his regular walk home after checking on the mole traps he had set for farmers in surrounding fields.

Retired couple James and Jennifer Jackson were in their home village of Wilton – Mr Jackson out walking as part of his recovery programme after an operation and his wife going up the hill to meet him.

Busy at work, young estate agent Jamie Clark was driving to his lettings office.

Former management consultant Michael Pike was enjoying a cycle ride near his home in Seascale and pensioner Jane Robinson was delivering Betterware catalogues door-to-door in the same town.

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