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Loner who told of deadly desires
David Bradley served his country in some of the world's most dangerous trouble spots, but when he returned home, the loss of Army life led to depression and, ultimately, tragedy. Gavin Havery reports.
DAVID Bradley confessed to a doctor about his murderous urges nine years before his killing spree.
Although he had a fairly undistinguished military career in the Royal Artillery, Bradley nevertheless saw active service in the first Gulf War and Bosnia.
When he quit in 1995, after eight years, the lack of Army discipline left a yawning gap in his life.
Two years later, he saw a doctor for depression.
During his treatment, Bradley confessed to feeling tense, wound up and wanting to kill someone. He told the GP that he had felt like this for years.
But there was one crucial fact Bradley held back from his doctor - he also had the means to carry out his desires.
During a tour of Bosnia, he obtained a silenced 7.65mm handgun and smuggled it back into the UK.
Although the Army has procedures for preventing soldiers bringing home weapons, Private David Bradley managed to dodge the searches carried out by Military Police.
Getting a firearm was easy. The former Yugoslavia was awash with small arms during the 1990s.
Even today, more than a decade after the Bosnian conflict ended, there are more than half a million illegal weapons in private hands.
A recent report by the United Nations said that it would take 20 years before these guns would be decommissioned.
David Bradley managed to obtain his pistol, and a cache of ammunition, for the price of a packet of cigarettes.
When he left the Army, Bradley returned home to the house in Benwell Grove, Newcastle, owned by his aunt and uncle, Josephine and Peter Purcell.
He had lived there since the age of 16 following a disagreement with his mother.
All of Bradley's attempts to begin a new career in "civvie street" failed.
Nine years ago, he made contact with a Gulf Veterans' Association complaining of nightmares, cold sweats and other problems. He kept in touch by telephone for two years but all contact stopped in 1999.
Apart from the occasional odd job, Bradley did not work again and, in 2002, after several attempts, he succeeded in claiming incapacity benefit for depression.
Bradley continued to see his GP. In May 2006, just two months before the killings, he was again assessed by a consultant psychiatrist, when a treatment plan involving prescribed medication was devised.
Sadly, the treatment was unable to control his violent temper, which erupted when he argued with his cousin.
Unable to resolve their differences, Bradley went to his room, loaded the pistol, then walked back downstairs into the kitchen and calmly executed Keith.
He spun on his heels and walked into the lounge where he shot his uncle Peter, who was asleep on the settee, through the head.
Hours later, Josephine was shot when she returned from babysitting and, sometime after that, Glen was shot in the face when he arrived back home from a night out.
Police believe the final thing Glen saw was Keith's bloodied body sprawled on the kitchen floor.
Last night, the Purcells' surviving son and daughter, Peter and Jacqueline, said in a statement: "Our lives have changed forever and you wonder how you will ever get over such tragic events.
"We, like other families who have lost loved ones in sudden circumstances, have to cope with sadness, emptiness and loss, then try to live as normal a life as possible for sake of our sons and daughters and the rest of the family.
"My sister and I are trying to cope with this by trying to believe it was not David who did this unspeakable crime, but some other entity that slowly took him away from reality and into some other dark world. We cannot comprehend what happened and probably never will.
"We know that David's mother and brother, our aunt and cousin, feel a terrible and completely unfounded guilt for what David did. We want them to remember that we love them both and no more need be said."