Rampaging killer shot taxi driver who 'burst his tyres'
A taxi driver gunned down by Derrick Bird had "bragged" about slashing the tyres on the killer's car, an inquest heard yesterday.
Darren Rewcastle (43) was overheard saying he had "done" the tyres on Bird's Citroen Picasso.
Stephen Brew, a fellow taxi driver and friend of Bird, said the gunman complained that replacing them was costing him more than he was making on the job.
Bird named Mr Rewcastle as responsible, pleading to his friend: "What am I to do?"
Mr Brew told the hearing: "I have heard Darren saying it to other people on the rank, that he had darted Birdy's tyres."
After the cold-blooded murder of his twin David and solicitor Kevin Commons (60), Bird drove to the taxi rank in Whitehaven, Cumbria in England, where he and Mr Rewcastle both worked.
He called the victim over to his cab and blasted him twice with a shotgun in the face and stomach.
Bird (52) went on to injure three other taxi drivers in the town, killing 12 people before turning the gun on himself on June 2 last year.
Mr Brew told the inquest into the deaths that he often chatted with Bird when they both worked as cabbies. He described Bird as a "nice guy, very quiet" but added: "He would bottle stuff up."
The inquest, now in its fourth day, has heard a number of reasons why Bird may have gone on the shooting spree.
The hearing at the Energus centre in Workington, Cumbria, has been told that Bird was worried about his elderly mother's ill-health.
Bird was also bullied by a "clique" of other taxi drivers in Whitehaven, the inquest has heard, prompting him to warn: "They are going to get it big style."
Bird had the tyres on his car punctured with a sharp dart on five occasions. Mr Brew said once he helped his friend change his punctured tyres.
"Did he say who he thought was responsible?" coroner David Roberts asked.
"Yes," Mr Brew replied. "He said Darren was bragging that he had done his tyres."
Bird later asked his friend: "What am I to do?". "I said; 'What about?'. He said: 'Darren'. I could not give him an answer," Mr Brew said.
The inquest is expected to last four weeks.