A SOUTH Yorkshire-born solicitor who was shot in the head by mass killer Derrick Bird in Cumbria tried to flee to the safety of his home, an inquest heard.
Kevin Commons, originally from Doncaster, became the Cumbrian killer’s second victim when he was shot after Bird gunned down his twin brother, David.
Bird, 52, used two guns to shoot his 12 victims on June 2 last year, in a horrific rampage which shocked the nation.
More than 100 observers packed the Energus Centre in Workington, Cumbria, for the opening of the six-week long inquests into the deaths of Bird’s victims.
The court heard Bird was spotted outside Mr Commons’ home in Frizington, Cumbria, at around 5.30am.
At around 10am the 60-year-old solicitor left home in his car, but his driveway was blocked by Bird’s Citroen Picasso.
Bird fired at Mr Commons twice with a shotgun, hitting him once in the shoulder.
Witnesses told police the injured man scrambled out of the vehicle and ran back to his house, pursued by Bird.
Mr Commons was found dead with two .22 rifle wounds to the head. Lawyer Mr Commons, aged 60, was among 12 people murdered when Bird went on the rampage with two guns.
Mr Commons grew up in Cantley, attended Doncaster Grammar School as a boy, and began his legal career working in the offices at Doncaster Magistrates’ Court. His cousins and other extended family are still living in South Yorkshire.
Details of the slaughter were given by Det Chf Supt Iain Goulding, from Cumbria Police, the senior investigating officer.
Mr Goulding told the hearing Bird, who lived alone and was separated from the mother of his two grown-up children, had for “some time” been worried about a tax investigation and had developed “irrational fears” about being imprisoned over unpaid income tax.
A meeting had been planned between Mr Commons and Bird on the day of the killing spree at which Bird believed he would be arrested and “immediately go to prison”, Mr Goulding said.
Bird shot his semi-naked twin brother 11 times with a rifle after confronting him in his bedroom in West Cumbria, the inquest heard.
Relatives of the dead held hands to their faces as the full horror of the taxi-driver’s rampage through West Cumbria was revealed for the first time. During the killing spree, Bird, 52, carrying a 12-bore sawn-off shotgun and a .22 rifle, repeatedly stopped his Citroen Picasso, called victims over as if to ask them the time, then blasted them in the face with a shotgun.
On more than one occasion he then left his vehicle, changed his weapon to the rifle, and finished off his injured victims by shooting them in the head at point blank range.
Mr Goulding’s opening presentation to the inquest, lasting an hour and a half, was heard in silence by observers, including Bird’s relatives, families of the victims, police, lawyers and press.
The hearing will analyse all the deaths in chronological order and is expected to last up to six weeks.
Bird died after he blasted himself in the head with the rifle.
The inquest continues.