'Lucky escape for intended victim' of Derrick Bird

A man had a lucky escape when he failed to wake up as Cumbria gunman Derrick Bird knocked at his door, neighbours have claimed.

People living near Jason Carey in Wilton, near Egremont, said they saw Bird outside his house on the morning the taxi driver killed 12 people.

One neighbour said Mr Carey had been on a late shift and did not get up in time to answer the door to Bird, 52.

Scuba teacher Mr Carey has refused to speak about what happened.

One neighbour said: "I saw [Bird] knocking on the door. He was knocking loudly but no one came. He didn't wait long for answer."

Another neighbour said: "He'd been on the late shift and didn't get up in time to answer the door. Birdy left and went along the road shooting at the others."

The woman said the neighbour and his partner had hardly been seen since.

"You normally see her out walking her dogs but not since what happened."

It is believed that Bird killed married couple James and Jennifer Jackson minutes after leaving Mr Carey's house on Wednesday morning.

Scuba diving fan Bird had by that time already killed his twin brother David, solicitor Kevin Commons and fellow taxi driver Darren Rewcastle.

He went on to shoot dead seven more people, and wound 11 others, before his body was found in woodland near Boot at about 1330 BST.

Police believe Bird deliberately targeted some of his victims and indiscriminately shot at others during his 45-mile rampage.

Image caption Bird's body was found in woodland near Boot

Detectives are continuing to try to establish a motive for the killings.

It was confirmed on Saturday that Bird had been the subject of an inquiry by HM Customs and Revenue.

Police are examining several issues, including suggestions that Bird had been involved in disputes with fellow drivers.

The Cumbria force also said there would be a post-mortem examination to discover whether Bird, who friends say was a regular in local pubs, was drunk as police pursued him.

Several memorial events are being held later to commemorate the victims, including an afternoon outdoor service on the Green at Seascale.

An evening service is being conducted in the garden of St Nicholas' Church in Whitehaven, where a message from the Queen will be read out.

The Rev John Bannister, rector of Whitehaven, said: "The shock hasn't passed. There's a veneer of normality, but beneath that veneer there's a very palpable sense of disbelief.

"A lot of people are feeling anxious and concerned. We know it's not going to happen again but that doesn't stop people thinking it might."

Update 26 April 2011: Information in this story about Jason Carey was provided to the Press Association by neighbours who did not wish to be named and was reported by the BBC in good faith. Although they did not wish to speak to the media at the time, the Careys disputed this version of events, saying that Derrick Bird did not get out of his car at their property and did not knock on their door. At the inquests in March 2011, the police reported that Bird had pulled up on the drive and sounded his horn.

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