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Thursday, 31 July 2014

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‘Paranoid, suicidal and shaking’

DERRICK BIRD was paranoid, had suicidal thoughts and was convinced his twin brother had “stitched him up”, his best friend told the inquest.

Neil Jacques, 52, said Bird was obsessing about his tax problems and had resigned himself to being jailed after not declaring his real income for 15 years.

Bird became increasingly agitated in the three days up to the murder spree, the witness told the hearing.

Bird appeared “shaking and petrified”, telling his friend, “I might as well top myself”, and kept repeating over and over to himself that his brother David and solicitor Kevin Commons were in “cahoots” against him, the inquest heard.

Mr Jacques had known Bird since high school and lived near the killer’s terrace home in Rowrah. He was Bird’s “best friend” and saw him three times on the day before the shootings, he said.

Bird, 52, went on to kill his twin David, solicitor Mr Commons, 60, and 10 other innocent victims before turning the gun on himself.

Earlier the inquest heard Bird was worried over a tax investigation into undeclared income and had sought the advice of his twin and Mr Commons.

Yesterday Mr Jacques was questioned at length by coroner Mr David Roberts.

The witness said Bird first began to change his behaviour after the tax inquiry began in May.

Mr Jacques said: “He said he received a form and he was bothered because he had too much savings and he had to declare it.

“He was bothered and concerned. He had not paid any tax for 15 years and they were going to find out if he filled the form in.”

Both men agreed the “**** would hit the fan” if he gave details and returned the paperwork.

Mr Jacques said: “He just kept repeating, he thought he was going to go to prison.”

Bird also told his friend he had been to see his twin’s friend and solicitor, Kevin Commons, and “it wasn’t looking good”.

Mr Jacques added: “He said he did not think they were trying to help him. They were against him. He said... they were stitching him up.”

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