Gunman Raoul Moat kills himself after police stand-off

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Fugitive gunman Raoul Moat has killed himself after a six-hour stand-off with armed officers, police have confirmed.

A spokesman said the 37-year-old shot himself after being cornered close to a river in Rothbury, Northumberland. He was pronounced dead in hospital at 0220 BST on Saturday.

It has emerged police used a Taser stun gun on Moat.

Officers had been negotiating with Moat, who was spotted near the centre of Rothbury after a week-long manhunt.

Eyewitness Peter Abiston, whose house overlooks the scene of the incident, told the BBC: "From what I can see he shot himself. He lay down and shot himself.

"I think there was two, but there was certainly one shot."

Other local people overheard some of the negotiations that took place between Moat and the police before he apparently turned his gun on himself.

A guest-house owner, who did not want to be named, told the BBC: "He actually said, the one thing that sticks in my mind, 'I haven't got a dad'... and he also said that, 'nobody cares about me'."

Police said Moat, a former nightclub bouncer and father-of-three, shot himself at about 0115 BST.

After a gunshot was heard, shouts were heard from officers close to Moat. One was heard to yell several times, "Put that gun down".

Paramedics were quickly on the scene and Moat was taken by ambulance to Newcastle General Hospital - accompanied by two police cars - but died shortly after arriving.

'Difficult time'

Officers discovered Moat on the riverbank by the River Coquet at about 1900 BST on Friday.

Expert negotiators were brought in to speak to him, and unconfirmed reports suggested a friend of Moat was also brought inside the police cordon to try to persuade him to surrender.

Because police had contact with Moat prior to his death, the incident has been referred to the Independent Police Complaints Commission.

Northumbria Police Temporary Chief Constable Sue Sim said: "While the incident has been brought to a close we must be mindful of the impact it has had on many lives.

"Our thoughts are with the family and friends of those affected.

"I'd like to thank the public, particularly the community of Rothbury, for their continued help throughout the inquiry.

"This has been a difficult time for them and their support has been invaluable."

An IPCC spokesman said its investigation would look specifically at whether the State did all it could to prevent loss of life.

He said this would include taking witness statements from those involved in the negotiations.

A post-mortem examination will also be carried out to confirm the cause of Moat's death and what sort of gunshot wound he suffered.

The IPCC report and the post-mortem findings will both be sent to the coroner who will hold an inquest into the death at a later date.

A forensic examination of the scene where Moat died was ongoing on Saturday. The investigation was also focussing on an area close to a culvert near the River Coquet, where it is thought Moat had hidden from searchers.

Sir Alan Beith, Lib Dem MP for Berwick upon Tweed, which includes Rothbury, said the police faced "key questions" about the police investigation into Moat.

Image caption,
A forensics tent has been erected at the scene where Moat shot himself

He added: "The people of the Rothbury area coped superbly with a difficult and dangerous situation and everyone is relieved that it is over.

"Key questions will now have to be investigated by the IPCC, but local people were keen throughout to support the police.

"The first objective now is to get back to normal and welcome visitors and tourists back to this beautiful area."

The BBC's Jon Sopel, who is in Rothbury, said: "There is a sense of relief here that people can go on with their lives in safety.

"But there is still a police cordon in place and forensic teams are still trying to work out where exactly Raoul Moat was hiding.

"So effectively Rothbury is a town cut in two at the moment. Life still hasn't got back to normal quite yet and I suspect it may not do for some time to come."

Former police firearms adviser, Andy Redhead said: "All the officers involved in this operation are relieved that it's over.

"And I dare say there is also an element of disappointment that Mr Moat was not persuaded to put the weapon down and surrender.

"I think with any police investigation of this magnitude there are always going to be lessons learnt. There will be lessons learnt here, good and bad on various aspects."

Police grudge

Moat had been on the run for a week after allegedly shooting his ex-girlfriend Samantha Stobbart and killing her new partner, Chris Brown.

The attacks took place in the Scafell area of Birtley, near Gateshead, on Saturday 3 July.

In the early hours of Sunday 4 July, Moat is alleged to have shot Pc David Rathband as he sat in his patrol car in East Denton, near Newcastle.

Moat was released from prison on Thursday 1 July.

Northumbria Police said he appeared to have a grudge against the force and in a letter purportedly written by him, he threatened to keep shooting officers until he was dead.

Police later warned of a wider threat to the public.

Image caption,
Moat is believed to have hidden in a culvert in Rothbury

Jon Sopel said that warning followed the discovery of a dictaphone in a tent used by Moat.

He said the dictaphone contained four hours of recordings in which Moat said he was unhappy with the way details of his private life were being reported and unless that stopped he would start targeting members of the public.

It also emerged Moat had indicated to police he had "significant unhappiness" with what he considered to be misreporting by the media and believed the police were manipulating the media deliberately.

Police said he threatened to harm members of the public for each inaccuracy he perceived.

Psychologists also concluded there was a "high risk" that Moat would be responsible for future violent conduct.

The focus of the manhunt moved to Rothbury when a black Lexus car, which Moat was thought to have been using, was discovered in the town on Tuesday.

Police imposed a 10-mile (16km) exclusion zone around the town and armed officers from forces across the country were brought in to assist in the search.