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Tuesday, 02 September 2014

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‘I texted gunman, asking him to stop and contact me’

A TRAINED police negotiator repeatedly phoned and sent text messages to gunman Derrick Bird when the details of his rampage started to emerge, the inquest heard yesterday.

Inspector Craig Lory was giving evidence on day six of the inquests into the June 2 shootings.

Insp Lory told the jury he left a meeting with local councillors when he heard about the shootings over his police radio.

He made his way to Lowther Street, Whitehaven, where he heard a “loud bang” and saw a “flash” coming from a Citroen Picasso driven by Bird, who had just opened fire on fellow taxi driver Paul Wilson.

Insp Lory followed the car on foot until a pursuing police van went past him.

He then went back to Whitehaven police station, where he made contact with the force incident commander, informing him that he was a trained negotiator.

They decided he should try to make contact.

Insp Lory said: “I phoned Derrick Bird on his mobile phone. I received no reply. I left a message asking him to stop and to contact me. I continued calling the mobile and texted him, asking Bird to stop what he was doing and reassuring him he would not be hurt. I received no reply.”

Insp Lory said he had never “seen the like”' of an incident like this in 20 years in the police.

He said: “This was a spontaneous incident, the like of which I have never come across in my police service.

“How brazen the offence was, and how much information was flowing into us at such a rapid rate of knots.

“My main drive, my main goal is to ensure the safety of the public. Ensure nobody else was hurt.”

Speaking about how the incident began to develop, he said: “I would say I was finding it difficult to assimilate information that was coming to us from so many points at that stage.”

Insp Lory was giving evidence at the inquests into the deaths of Bird’s twin brother David, 52, solicitor Kevin Commons, 60, Darren 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.

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