Cumbria gunman's Dunblane boast
Thursday 03 March 2011
Derrick Bird threatened to make his hometown of Whitehaven as "famous as Dunblane" several weeks before embarking on his murderous rampage.
He made the chilling link – between the scene of the future massacre and the Scottish town where 16 schoolchildren and their teacher were killed by gunman Thomas Hamilton in 1996 – apparently out of the blue, during a routine inquiry into hiring a diving boat. The second day of the inquest into the deaths of Bird and his 12 victims heard that the 52-year-old taxi driver had talked about suicide hours before his killing spree last June.
His mental deterioration was triggered, witnesses claimed, when he received a letter from HM Revenue and Customs over unpaid tax the previous month.
But while close friends observed his paranoia, heavy drinking and threats to "top himself", Peter McLean, a Solway Sub Aqua Club official, said his remarks about Dunblane – aired in public – had struck him as particularly sinister. He said Bird had been enquiring after a pool-training session about how much it would cost to take the club boat for a diving trip off the Isle of Man.
Bird then said: "Whitehaven will be as famous as Dunblane." When asked to explain he said: "You'll see soon enough."
Mr McLean said he was startled and replied: "Infamous you mean... I only know Dunblane for one thing."
On the day before the massacre Bird had been carrying his passport in his car and claimed he was planning to withdraw money and "bugger off to Thailand".
The inquest continues.
Liam Neeson's Downton dreams
Thriller is set in the secret world of British espionage
Bomber jacket worn by Mary Berry sells out within an hour
Daniele Watts: Django Unchained actress detained by Los Angeles police after being mistaken for a prostitute
Scottish independence referendum: A nation divided against itself
Scottish independence: David Cameron is becoming the 'George Bush of Britain'
Russia freezes Ukraine into submission: Kiev admits country doesn't have enough fuel for winter
Scottish independence: The Queen breaks silence on referendum debate – as think tank warns of £14bn black hole if Scotland votes Yes
Portuguese academic says British are 'filthy, violent and drunk'
- 1 Thailand beach murders: Thai PM suggests 'attractive' female tourists cannot expect to be safe wearing bikinis
- 2 Scottish independence: What you shouldn't tweet about if you want to avoid jail today
- 3 Scottish independence: Five reasons Salmond is secretly hoping for a 'No' vote
- 4 Isis plan to 'behead random member of the public' in Sydney thwarted by Australian police
- 5 Archbishop of Canterbury admits doubts about existence of God