Derrick Bird lay in wait for solicitor before killing him
Derrick Bird lay in wait outside the home of his family's solicitor before shooting him dead in an apparent feud over his mother's will, witnesses have revealed.
Shop worker Iris Carruthers, 49, said she recognised him and said hello, but he did not reply.
Bird was in his taxi, near Mowbray Farm, the home of solicitor Kevin Commons, in Frizington.
She said: "I was just out walking my dogs about 5.30/5.45am and Derrick was coming from the farm in his taxi.
"He passed me and went down to the bottom of the main road, turned, and he came back up.
"Slowly he drove alongside me and I said 'hiya lad, you all right?'
"He didn't speak, he was in a world of his own, and I just kept on walking.
"He was stationed at the gate on the way up to the tip road. I just left him there.
"I thought he was just normal, I didn't think there was anything untoward. I just thought he had been to the farm and dropped somebody off because he was in his taxi.
"I never thought any more of it."
Asked if she felt she had a lucky escape, she said: "That's what my friends have been saying, but I haven't sat down and thought about that.
"I was out with my dogs and I saw somebody I knew and spoke to him. That's it."
She said of Bird, who attended Ehenside secondary school in Cleator Moor: "He was a quiet lad, kept himself to himself. Friendly. You wouldn't expect anything like this."
Residents living close to Mr Commons were too upset to speak today.
But local man James Close said he was very well liked.
The 51-year-old said: "He was a very good solicitor.
"He represented some of my friends and they said he was great."
Mr Commons is understood to have lived in Frizington for a number of years.
Another shop worker, who did not want to be named, said: "It was like waking up to a nightmare today.
"The things this area has been through recently - the floods, the bus crash, and now this."