It’s beginning to look like Derrick Bird shot some victims on purpose, while others were shot randomly. When in a trance-like state, he drove around a Cumbrian countryside shooting anyone he saw, who just happened to be in the wrong spot. We have several dozen harrowing accounts, but one of the most heart-wrenching is of Isaac Dixon, a part-time mole-catcher from Beckgreen, Egremont.
It turns out that Bird knew Isaac Dixon, since they were both Cumbria County Council drivers. Isaac was talking to a farmer who used his mole catching services when Bird drove up beside the two and shot him. This begs the question of whether Derrick Bird purposely sought out ‘Spike’ Dixon or just happened to see him?
By all accounts, Spike was a likeable man, who always tried to help friends and neighbors whenever he could. His girlfriend Pat said of the unfortunate incident, “We were close-and what has happened is really just surreal. Quite unbelievable.”
Isaac’s sister, Margaret Earl, had seen him at a bus stop just three hours before the shooting. “He’d nipped out to get some milk for one of his neighbors. He was always friendly and doing errands for others.”
His brother Thomas said he was an ordinary man who kept to himself, but did many good deeds for others. Another neighbor, Audrey Fenwick, said that Spike helped tear up her kitchen lining, that he was the first to offer his services.
In bleaker contrast to these good deeds, and underscoring the senselessness of these killings, two police bollards marked the exact spot where he fell. The nameless farmer who witnessed the shooting said in disbelief, “Mr. Dixon helped us all out. Everyone knew him around here-he was a nice guy.”
The snappy cabbie, Darren Rewcastle, seems to have been more particularly targeted by this crazed killer, Derrick Bird. Bird and Rewcastle had a history of confrontation and it’s said that Rewcastle often kidded Bird. Derrick believed that Darren was cheating him, by cutting in line, and picking up cab customers out of queue. A driver, Mark Cooper, said: “It was a dispute that had been simmering for months.”
The shooting of Rewcastle was described by another victim, Don Reed, who was fortunately only wounded. Apparently, his training as a soldier had kicked in, and Don avoided the sudden death inflicted on Rewcastle. The madman Bird had shouted, “Darren,” then walked up and took his face off with a shot-gun blast.
I believe that Derrick returned to his cab and drove by Don Reed’s cab, shooting out of his own car window and into the cab that Reed was in. Reed took a shot in the back, but was only wounded; part of the shot struck a shop window from across the cab stand. Reed’s words about his fellow cabby are shocking: “I got next to Darren Rewcastle on the floor. His face was gone.”
Two other cabbies were shot as well in this same cluster of events at Whitehaven. Richard Murray found himself staring down the barrel of a rifle when Bird pulled up along side him (Bird’s M.O. was shooting victims right from inside his cab). Murray ducked down in the passenger side of his Citroen Picasso, and just barely missed a visit to the undertaker.
Paul Wilson thought it was just a prank when a blank faced Birdy pulled out a shotgun and blasted away. Wilson didn’t even know he’d been shot, he thought Birdy was firing blanks. A guy came running out of his car and had to alert him, “No, he has shot you.” Blood was everywhere. Richard Murray remembered how Bird had slowly passed the cab stand twice the day before, oddly staring at the drivers, then racing away. Scary!
These are only fragments of the devastation left behind by this mad killer. With regard to motive, this is being sorted out as I type, but one thing is clear, Derrick Bird became completely unhinged by early Wednesday morning. He first killed his attorney, Kevin Commons, then went to the home of his own twin brother, David Bird, and shot him as he slept in his own bed.
The exact nature of Bird’s sudden condition of insanity is still yet to be determined. It may have all been just in his head? It is clear, however, that he was very paranoid. I sense that he was terribly jealous of his twin brother David, who was quite a bit wealthier than he was. And now we’re hearing that his own brother had told the tax authorities of an undeclared 60,000 pounds, that had been stashed away.
This may have been the icing on the cake for a brewing well of hostility that had been building up for decades. Colleagues characterize him as a joking bloke, while others say he was reclusive and paranoid. The truth is no one seemed to truly know the ‘Real Derrick Bird.’ These problems were internalized and they festered within him.
There was no evidence of mental illness on record either, or at least none was ever reported. An out-of-the-blue time bomb went off in a tranquil English countryside Wednesday last. The why may remain an unknown, for the madman took his own life and his secret went with him to his grave.
(Sources-The Mirror, The Times, The Guardian and CNN)