While there has been seven shades of speculation about poor Derrick Bird and his 12 murder and 11 assault victims there has been one part of the back story that has received little attention. There was a moment when Bird's criminal record - for theft from a previous employers some 20 years ago - was raised as a hook for assertions that his applications for permit (shotgun) and licence (rifle) ought to have been refused.
That of course was pretty silly. More significant surely should be the information on which this little Metro sidebar (Thursday 3 June) was based? "Cab attack made Bird anxious" runs the headline. Here's the full text:
AN ASSAULT on Derrick Bird by a fare-dodging taxi customer left him 'nervous and anxious', according to reports. Bird was knocked unconscious and had two teeth broken when set upon after challenging the 19-year-old in Whitehaven, Cumbria. In a statement at the subsequent court case in 2007, Bird said he was still distressed by the incident and no longer wanted to work at night.
May be a complete coincidence but one of Bird's fatalities is the right age to have been that assailant or indeed another arsey customer. And the year of the court case is the same as the year of the granting of the licence for the powerful .22 hunting rifle. Perhaps some of our finest NUJjers could get onto this and investigate? And perhaps any review of licensing practice - as well as creating a notification requirement on NHS professionals for those holding gun licences and permits, as there already is I think for driving licences - should make sure there's a question about being a victim of crime as well as a perpetrator?
UPDATE Mon 11:51: seems ACPO and the BMC have had the conversation about those notifications. Not sure anything's been done about it. Was only a year or so ago.