Bird was my friend, says victim

A taxi driver who was shot in the back then stalked in the street by crazed gunman Derrick Bird in Cumbria has said he regarded him as a friend.

Donald Reid, 57, was hit moments after Bird killed their colleague Darren Rewcastle at a taxi rank in Whitehaven.

Mr Reid said he attempted to “dive like Superman” away from Bird as he fired from his Citroen Picasso but was not quick enough.

After being shot, he crawled along the road as the killer got out of his car and stalked him just paces behind with his weapon raised.

He managed to take cover behind taxis on the rank in Duke Street and opened car doors to use as shields against Bird.

David Roberts, the Coroner for North and West Cumbria, asked Mr Reid how well he knew Bird.

He replied: “As a friend. The only thing he has done against me is shoot me in the back.”

He was giving evidence at the inquests into the deaths of Bird’s twin brother David, 52, solicitor Kevin Commons, 60, Mr Rewcastle, 43, Susan Hughes, 57, Kenneth Fishburn, 71, Isaac Dixon, 65, Jennifer Jackson, 68, and her husband James, 67, Garry Purdham, 31, Jamie Clark, 23, Michael Pike, 64, Jane Robinson, 66, and Bird himself.

Bird had already killed his brother David and Mr Commons before he drove into Whitehaven town centre at around 10.25am on June 2 last year.

On Tuesday, the inquest will hear evidence from taxi drivers Paul Wilson and Terence Kennedy and Mr Kennedy’s passenger Emma Percival, who were all shot by Bird as he headed out of the town and towards Egremont, where he continued his killing spree.