Twins' sibling rivalry deepened by father's will
Published 05/06/2010 | 05:00
THE pages of a will left by Derrick Bird's father provided an insight yesterday into the simmering tensions -- and the substantial gap in wealth -- between the taxi driver and the twin brother who became the first victim of his shooting spree.
The document uncovered at the Probate Registry in London reveals how Joseph Bird, a civil servant for Cumbria County Council, gave David Bird a gift of £25,000 (€30,000) shortly before his death in 1998.
It was one of several perceived injustices -- including a suspicion that his twin brother was conniving with the family solicitor to exacerbate his difficulties with a tax bill -- that contributed to what became a murderous grudge.
"Rightly or wrongly, and we all think wrongly, Derrick thought his brother was out to get him," a family friend said last night.
The will casts new light on more than 20 years of contrasting fortunes for the two men. While Derrick (52) lived in a modest pebble-dashed terraced house worth £90,000 (€108,000) in their native village of Rowrah, David, a building contractor, had succeeded in buying a substantial farmhouse worth about £500,000 (€599,000) some four miles away.
The will shows that Joseph Bird gave David the £25,000 in 1997 with a requirement that the sum be deducted from his eventual inheritance.
But there is no record of the money ever having been paid back, and debts and taxes reduced the eventual legacy to just £10,000 (€12,000) which was paid to his wife Mary.
Derrick, and the twins' elder brother Brian, received nothing. (© Independent News Service)