PM visits Cumbria after gunman shootings

By staff

David Cameron has visited Cumbria, two days after shooting spree killer Derrick Bird murdered 12 people before turning the gun on himself.

The prime minister accompanied home secretary Theresa May, who yesterday pledged that the government would not rush to change gun-licensing laws in the wake of the incident.

The pair visited West Cumberland hospital where they met staff as well as one of grandfather Derrick Bird’s victims.

Mr Cameron visited senior police officers at Cumbria police, one of Britain’s smallest constabularies, to pay tribute to their efforts in coping with what Mr Cameron called “the most appalling tragedy”.

“It will have a huge impact on the community, and I wanted to come here to show that the government wants to listen and wants to show how much it cares about what has happened here,” he said.

The deaths have sparked renewed debate about whether Britain’s already strict gun control regime needs to be tightened further.

Bird was fully licensed for both the shotgun and .22 rifle with telescopic sight he used as he drove across Cumbria.

Yesterday Mr Cameron warned against a “knee-jerk” reaction, saying: “You can’t legislate to stop a switch flicking in someone’s head and for this dreadful sort of action to take place.”

The prime minister’s trip came amid a frenzy of speculation about why 52-year-old taxi driver Bird chose to embark on Britain’s worst gun massacre in 14 years.

It emerged today he had told friends he feared he faced jail over a £60,000 tax investigation.

Detectives revealed yesterday that Bird’s victims appeared to be a mix of the premeditated and random, with only his first three or four victims known to him.

Bird’s twin brother David is thought to have been the shooter’s first victim.

David Bird’s daughters have rejected the notion of a feud between their father and uncle, however.