UK rampage gunman was under inquiry over tax
London, June 5, 2010
A taxi driver who shot dead 12 people in Britain's worst killing spree in 14 years was under investigation over his tax affairs, police said on Saturday.
Derrick Bird's three-hour killing spree on Wednesday through towns, villages and countryside in west Cumbria and the Lake District stunned Britain and has left authorities struggling to determine his motives.
Bird, 52, described by neighbours as a friendly, laid-back man who enjoyed scuba-diving, killed himself in a rural beauty spot at the end of his rampage.
With British media trying to pinpoint what may have pushed Bird over the edge, reports have surfaced that he was afraid of going to jail over unpaid taxes, had argued with fellow taxi drivers or was involved in a family feud.
"Detectives are focusing on several key areas and are working to verify suggestions that Bird was involved in personal disputes with fellow taxi drivers, or others," police chief Iain Goulding said in a statement.
"We have also been reviewing his finances and investigating issues of taxation. We can confirm that Derrick Bird was subject to an ongoing investigation by Her Majesty's Revenue and Customs," he said.
Among Bird's victims were his twin brother David, the family lawyer and a taxi driver whom he knew, but others appeared to have been targeted at random.
British media reports have suggested that Bird may have harboured a grudge against his brother over an inheritance, but the police statement made no mention of that. David Bird's three daughters have denied there was any family feud.
"While we continue to investigate these issues, we may never fully understand what could have driven Bird to commit such atrocities as he is no longer here to answer our questions," Goulding said.
His statement said detectives had seized a large amount of paperwork from Bird's house, but no suicide note or what some media have referred to as a hit list of intended victims. – Reuters