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Relatives of gun spree killer Derrick Bird would apologise to his victims' families "if they had the strength", a close friend has said as memorial services were held to remember the dead.
The Rev Jim Marshall, curate of St Michael's Church in Lamplugh, said the man the family had known was "not the person they saw on Wednesday", and that they have "dreadful sorrow within them and dreadful sadness within them".
Bird, 52, killed 12 people and injured 11 before taking his own life in a horrific shooting spree across Cumbria.
Mr Marshall said: "If they had the strength to do it, they were the sort of people who would have gone round to each one of the (families of) people killed and wounded to apologise. That is the strength of their feelings."
Bird's elderly mother, Mary, has been told about what her son had done but "may not know some of the details", he said. She discovered what her son had done watching news reports on the television.
Mr Marshall read out a short statement on behalf of Graeme and Jamie Bird, Derrick's two sons.
It said: "We are utterly devastated about the death of our father Derrick Bird. To us, he was the nicest man you could ever meet. He was a loving dad and recently became a grandfather. We would like to say that we do not know why our dad committed these horrific crimes. We are both mortified by these sad events."
The statements were released as communities gathered for memorial services to remember those who died.
Details also emerged of a potential 13th victim who apparently survived only by chance.
Neighbours of Jason Carey said Bird, 52, banged on his door after killing other friends and family he apparently held grudges against.
But Mr Carey, who is from Wilton and was a scuba teacher at the club Bird attended, was still in bed and failed to answer his door. One neighbour said: "He knew him from the scuba club and they'd had some sort of dispute.
The will of his father Joe revealed his twin brother David had received a £25,000 payout but he had been ignored. David was Bird's first victim - blasted to death in the early hours of Wednesday.
After murdering his brother, Bird went on to kill family solicitor Kevin Commons, 60, before driving to Whitehaven where he pumped shots at fellow cabbies outside the rank he worked from.
The massacre ended when Bird abandoned his taxi on a country lane -after it reportedly suffered a flat tyre - and made off on foot to a remote wooded area where he killed himself.