UK

Raoul Moat: 'It concerns me people see him as a hero'

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Media captionFormer Northumbria police chief who led manhunt for Moat speaks to 5 Live 10 years on

The police chief who led the hunt for murderer Raoul Moat says she is still concerned people see him as a "hero".

Sue Sim said she was critical of those who still admire the gunman 10 years after he shot and wounded his ex-partner, killed her new boyfriend, and shot a police officer in the face.

After a week-long manhunt and six-hour stand-off with armed police the former nightclub bouncer shot himself.

It comes after reports some intend to mark the anniversary of his death.

The former Chief Constable of Northumbria Police told Radio 5 Live: "I don't feel empathy for somebody who sadistically gunned down and killed one individual and seriously harmed two others."

Image caption Raoul Moat became the subject of the country's largest manhunt in decades

Moat, 37, was released from Durham Prison in early July 2010, following an 18-week sentence for assault. Two days later he targeted his former girlfriend and her new partner. Chris Brown was killed while Samantha Stobbart suffered life-threatening injuries.

Moat then also shot traffic officer PC David Rathband who was finishing his shift in a marked patrol car. PC Rathband survived but lost his sight in both eyes. He took his own life in 2012.

Moat disappeared and gained national notoriety as he became the subject of the largest manhunt the country had seen in 44 years.

After a week on the run, on 10 July, he was spotted in the riverbank area of Rothbury, Northumberland, and after a stand-off, he turned the gun on himself.

Following the incident flowers were left at the scene of Moat's death and messages of sympathy to him were left on Facebook. A 'tribute' page was later removed from the site.

In a new interview ahead of the 10th anniversary of the incident, Sue Sim said: "One of the things that does still concern me to this day is the number of people who still see Raoul Moat as a hero.

"For people to put him on a pedestal as a hero, I'm sorry - Dave Rathband was a hero, Raoul Moat wasn't a hero."

Image caption PC David Rathband set up a charity to support to members of the emergency services injured in the line of duty

She said she visited David Rathband regularly in hospital after he was shot by Moat. "That is one of the greatest tragedies out of all of this... that a fine police officer took his own life as a result and I do blame Moat for David's death."

PC Rathband was commended for his charity work in the wake of his injuries and started the Blue Lamp Foundation to help other emergency service staff injured in the line of duty.

In September 2011, an inquest jury returned a verdict of suicide in the death of Raoul Moat. The hearing was told Moat was hit by an experimental shotgun Taser round fired by marksmen who believed he was preparing to kill himself.

Meanwhile an Independent Police Complaints Commission report found no evidence of misconduct by officers.

Image caption Raoul Moat was eventually cornered near a river in Rothbury

The IPCC looked at the period from the sighting of Moat until his death, including strategy and tactics and the deployment of Tasers.

It concluded there may be "some learning" for Northumbria Police from the investigation but there was no evidence of misconduct by any police officers.

Sue Sim, who has now retired, defended the use of the Taser and expressed her regret that Moat never faced justice.

"As far as the operation went, the officers all behaved superbly but in my view, it was a failure because I wanted that man brought to justice, put before a court and tried for the dreadful crimes he committed," she said.

In a statement, the current Chief Constable of Northumbria Police, Winton Keenen, said the force's thoughts were with those affected by events 10 years ago, especially the victims and their families.

He paid tribute to PC David Rathband and Moat's other victims, saying: "We particularly remember Chris Brown, who sadly lost his life in the cowardly, unprovoked attack, as well as his partner Samantha Stobbart who thankfully survived her injuries - our thoughts remain with their families, friends and loved ones."

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Click here to listen to Rachel Burden's full interview with Sue Sim on BBC Sounds.

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