Thursday 18 January 2018

Bird's 'lingering jealousy' for his twin brother

Jon Swaine, Stephen Adams and Paul Stokes

FOR 52 years they had steadily grown apart -- one laid-back and well-liked, the other introverted and quietly resentful.

Yesterday it was claimed a simmering rivalry between Derrick Bird and his twin David may have spilled over due to rows involving money.

Friends said a spat was inflamed by negotiations over the will of their 90-year-old mother Mary, who is seriously ill. Reports circulated that David may have referred his brother to the tax authorities over irregularities in his finances.

David, a mechanic and father of three, was one of the 12 victims of his brother's killing spree on Wednesday. Kevin Commons, the family solicitor, was also murdered.

Derrick had been due to meet Mr Commons on Wednesday afternoon.

Letters from Mr Commons's firm were stacked at his window sill. Mrs Bird had moved between a nursing home and Derrick's terraced house after recently suffering a stroke.

A close friend who knew the twins said trouble was brewing after they discovered the contents of their mother's will last week.

"David was cheesed off with the whole thing," the friend said. "He said 'money makes problems'. But Derrick was much more exercised about it.

"He thought David and his friends were talking behind his back about the will and he was getting done over."

Derrick had a "lingering jealousy" for his twin, the friend said.

David "had done better financially, but more importantly was well liked".


The brothers attended Ehenside School in Cleator Moor, which was later demolished. It is thought that as a young man David worked at the J Edgar & Son garage in Rowrah, yards from where the twins grew up with their older brother Brian, now 58.

While Derrick worked at the Sellafield nuclear plant, David then started his own firm.

A female neighbour in Lamplugh, where David lived three miles from Derrick, said: "He serviced my car. He was just a lovely man." He married Susan Davis in 1980. Together they had three daughters: Rachel, now 28, Tracey, 26, and Katie, 19.

They separated amicably in recent months and Susan moved out of the farmhouse they shared.

Friends said the couple had endured a difficult few years. First David's business folded, and then Susan developed a serious illness, which she successfully battled.

David then sold his firm's land to a property developer, only to discover that he had vastly underestimated how much it was worth, a friend said.

Nonetheless, David remained sunny and friendly -- apparently in stark contrast to his brother. "Derrick always thought that people were talking about him," said the friend of 20 years. "He was a bit paranoid. David wasn't like that."


A friend of Linda Mills, Derrick's ex-partner and mother of his two sons, said: "David was laid-back. I remember him in the pub smoking his pipe.

"Derrick wasn't one for conversation. He seemed to have a different outlook on life."

Michael Pugh, a fellow taxi driver who had known Derrick for 15 years said that he did not even discuss his twin. "I never knew that he had a brother," he said. "He never talked about him."

Mr Pugh said he believed Derrick's money worries contributed to Wednesday's events. "Whatever way Derrick turned, he had problems," Mr Pugh said. "He had financial trouble, his mum was ill, and when he came to work there were problems there."

Bird is known to have been teased about being "tight" with cash.

Whitehaven cab drivers' pay had also fallen sharply following a deregulation in the local taxi industry in 2008, Mr Pugh claimed.

For Derrick this was worsened by drivers breaking a "gentleman's agreement" to queue for customers, he said. "There was bad feeling on the rank," he said. "There were four drivers saying to customers 'Go down the back and I will pick you up'."

Mr Pugh named Darren Rewcastle, one of Bird's victims, as one of the four drivers who had reneged on this pact. (© The Telegraph, London)

Irish Independent

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