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Thursday, 24 April 2014

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Pal thought Bird was playing prank

A TAXI driver thought Derrick Bird was “playing a prank” when he opened fire on him, the inquest heard.

Paul Wilson was walking along Scotch Street, Whitehaven, close to its junction with Lowther Street, when Bird called him over to his taxi and shot him in the face as he bent down to his passenger window.

Bird drove away and two PCs ran to Mr Wilson’s aid.

He said: “I explained to them it was just a friend of mine playing a prank.”

He said it was only when the police officers told him he had been shot that he put his hand up to his face and realised he was bleeding.

Describing the moment Bird opened fire, Mr Wilson said: “I heard a blast. I saw the flash before I realised what it was.

“I felt a gust of wind going past my ear.”

Mr Wilson told the jury it was only after he heard the blast he noticed the gun.

He said: “My initial thought was he has fired a blank.

“After a couple of seconds, Derrick just drove off and I still thought it was a prank.”

Mr Wilson was taken into nearby Whitehaven police station where he was given medical treatment.

Paul Goodwin, 48, lottery manager for Whitehaven Rugby League Club, followed Bird after the killer shot Darren Rewcastle dead and gunned down survivor Donald Reid in Duke Street. He drove around the one-way system behind Bird, who then returned to the taxi rank.

Mr Goodwin said: “He was about 15 to 20 yards in front of me. I wound my window down and papped my horn saying: ‘It’s him in the taxi.’

“I heard two more shots at the taxi rank and then he set off up Duke Street again.”

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