Victim 'warned before Derrick Bird killing'

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The Independent Online

Derrick Bird's youngest victim was warned a gunman was on the loose just minutes before he was shot dead, an inquest heard today.

Jamie Clark, 23, was called by a work colleague as he drove from Seascale to the letting agents office in Whitehaven where he worked.

Philip Le-Maire said he called Mr Clark's mobile phone at 11.20am after hearing about the shootings in west Cumbria.

"During a brief conversation, I explained to Jamie there was a gunman in the area and I suggested he return to the office," Mr Le-Maire said in a statement to the inquest into all the deaths, at the Energus Centre in Workington.

But around five minutes later, at 11.25am Mr Clark's path crossed with Bird's on the road outside Seascale.

He was the 10th person to be killed during Bird's rampage across west Cumbria on June 2, last year.

The shooting was not witnessed but his Smart Car was found on its side, the wheels still turning, with the victim inside, blasted to the right side of his head with the shotgun.

The killing was "untimely, undeserved and unfair" his fiancee said.

Leanne Jarman also said the love she shared with Mr Clark would go on forever, in a moving tribute given at the inquest.

"He was by no means perfect, but he was perfect for me, and the love we shared will never die," she said in a statement.

Miss Jarman, said: "For the last nine months Jamie's family, many friends, acquaintances, colleagues and I have been living a nightmare.

"Living a life without Jamie is one that none of us should be learning to do, and one I never considered possible."

She added: "We want to remember Jamie, not in the terms of his death or the events of that hellish day, but as the wonderful, generous and kind-hearted young man we all had the pleasure of loving and knowing.

"Jamie is my inspiration and it is his relentless and vivacious way of approaching life that gives me the courage to forge a new life for myself."

Mr Clark was born in Aylesbury and his family lived in Northall, Buckinghamshire, but he moved to Carlisle in February 2008 to be with his fiancee, while she studied at university in Cumbria.

Another tribute came from Richard Clark, the victim's father. It was given on behalf of himself, Jamie's mother Jane and his brother Andrew.

Mr Clark said: "Jamie was unique; I'm sure all parents think their children are.

"He was kind, gentle and intelligent with a wicked sense of humour. He made you feel better just for spending time with him.

"It will take us many years to come to terms with his death."

The inquest was adjourned until tomorrow morning.