A week on - and Cumbria shootings are remembered in silence
Wednesday 09 June 2010
Towns and villages left stunned by Derrick Bird's killing spree fell silent today - a week on from the carnage which left 12 dead.
Memorial services were held throughout west Cumbria where father-of-two Bird ran amok, firing at friends, family and passers-by.
Cabbie Bird first killed his twin brother David and family lawyer Kevin Commons before seemingly looking to settle scores at the Whitehaven taxi rank where he worked. Here Darren Rewcastle died.
Bird then drove through the countryside, taking potshots at random people.
His rampage ended only when he abandoned his car and made off on foot into a remote wooded area where he took his own life.
To mark the tragedy, today's eight services each began and ended at the same time, starting at 11.45am and culminating with a minute's silence at midday.
In London, the House of Commons also fell silent at midday, as MPs observed the minute's silence ahead of Prime Minister's Question Time.
Copeland councillor Cath Giel said people needed an opportunity to get together "to come to terms with their own thoughts" following Bird's rampage.
The reason Bird flipped remains unclear and police are continuing to trawl through reams of documents and a computer seized from the killer's home.
It is believed Bird held a simmering grudge over money from their late father Joe. His twin David - Bird's first target - was given £25,000 before their father died.
Friends have also spoken about an Inland Revenue investigation into a mystery £60,000 in Bird's bank account - and his fears he would be locked up.
Taxi drivers who worked with Bird also claim he was involved in a continuing row about some cabbies taking fares from the back of the queue.
Services were held in Egremont, where victims Susan Hughes, 57, a mother of two, and former soldier Kenneth Fishburn, 71, lived and were killed, and at Frizington War Memorial, near the home of Mr Commons, who was shot dead by Bird on the morning of the rampage.
Rugby player Garry Purdham, 31, was remembered at a service in Gosforth village.
In Seascale, a service was held to remember 64-year-old Michael Pike, who was shot dead while cycling, Jane Robinson, who lived in the village with her elderly twin Barrie and was killed while delivering catalogues, and 23-year-old estate agent Jamie Clarke.
Other services were held in Boot, where the killer's body was found, Cleator Moor, where his son Graeme, 28, lives and Millom.
The funeral of Mr Purdham will be held tomorrow, followed by the private cremation of Mr Commons.
Around 500 people gathered in Cleator Moor's Market Square for the minute's silence.
At the war memorial in Frizington, around two miles from Bird's home in Rowrah, around 100 people gathered.
Among those paying their respects were church ministers and councillors.
Deputy mayor of Copeland John Jackson, who lives in Frizington, said: "We gather here today, united in grief and sadness, to remember those members of our community who lost their lives last Wednesday.
"There are no words that can express the spectrum of emotions each of us has been through over the last seven days, and nothing I can say can ease the pain.
"The world is watching west Cumbria and we must ensure that, as a region, we are not defined by the shootings but by our response to them."
The memorial is around half a mile from where Mr Commons was shot dead in his driveway.
Cabbies at the taxi rank in Whitehaven, where Mr Rewcastle died, sounded their horns in unison following the service.
People wept as the drivers' horns sounded for a full minute following the minute's silence at St Nicholas Gardens, just yards from where the cabbie was shot.
"It's what Darren would have wanted," "Big Eddie", a driver at the rank and Mr Rewcastle's friend said.
Around 1,000 mourners listened solemnly as deputy council leader George Clements called on the community to pull together in the wake of the tragedy.
The rector of Whitehaven the Rev John Bannister said: "The healing of this dreadful hurt upon our communities will only come from the support that we give to each other as a community."
Passing hill walkers joined members of the tiny community of Boot to remember Bird's victims just a few hundred yards from where he took his own life.
Around 30 people gathered in a car park under brooding, dark skies and surrounded by the imposing Lakeland peaks.
Local vicar the Rev Ann Baker said: "Sadly, Derrick Bird's journey ended here and people were shot here.
"One of the most prominent members of our community is still receiving treatment from gunshot wounds.
"But I think it's important that we remember that lives can be rebuilt and throughout the whole of this area we will be joining together to help people come to terms with last week's tragedies."
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