Funeral for twin brother of British gunman

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The nieces of a British gunman who killed 12 people this month paid tribute Monday to their father, the killer's twin brother, who was the first to be murdered.

In a message read out at the funeral of David Bird -- whose brother Derrick went on a bloody rampage in Cumberland, northwest England on June 2 -- his daughters Rachel, 28, Tracey, 26, and Katie, 19, called him their hero.

"Not only were you one in a million, but more like one in a billion... You brought laughter everywhere you went and always put a smile on everyone's faces," they said.

"You were our hero, Dad," they added at the service also attended by the twin 52-year-olds' elder brother Brian, Derrick Bird's eldest son Graeme, 28, and David Bird's estranged wife Susan.

Taxi driver Derrick Bird killed his twin in the early hours of June 2, before going on a shooting spree in the nearby town of Whitehaven and a string of villages, before turning the gun on himself.

Police say they may never fully understand what motivated him but have confirmed that his tax affairs were being investigated, while relatives have denied there was a family feud.

© 2010 AFP

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