Gunman Raoul Moat killed himself as he evaded police arrest

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Moat. rattled police in the most high profile manhunt
Moat. rattled police in the most high profile manhunt

After almost one week of standoff with the Police, 37-year-old carze gun man Raoul Moat blasted himself in the head after being surrounded by armed police  as it rained in the village.

An eyewitness said the tense siege came to a climax when police surrounded the former nightclub doorman and jumped on him.

A single gunshot was heard before the stricken fugitive, who has evaded a frantic hunt for a week, was taken by ambulance to Newcastle General Hospital.

On arrival he was seen being taken from the ambulance on a stretcher with a blanket covering his head. It is believed he was pronounced dead on arrival at around 2.20am.

The end to an astonishing week-long pursuit came as the fugitive gunman was surrounded by marksmen

Moat was holding a sawn-off shotgun to his head as dozens of armed officers closed in.

Negotiators called out to the 37-year-old nightclub bouncer using his first name in an attempt to stop him using the weapon.

But shortly after 1am a shot rang out, followed by frantic shouting and the barking of police dogs.

Susan Ballantyne, who watched the scenes unfold from the window of her home, told how police then ‘crowded around Moat’ and ‘jumped on him’. No-one else was hurt.

Moat. lying under a tree in Rothbury.

His death has ended a dramatic hunt which has lasted about one week.

As Police worked out atrategies for his arrest, Raoul Moat may have used a network of underground storm drains to evade capture constantly changing positions to avoid  police.

He managed to evade police capture for almost a week, sparking a huge manhunt involving police officers from 15 forces, Scotland Yard sharpshooters and armoured 4×4 cars.

An RAF Tornado was also deployed to utilise wartime technology in a bid to find the gunman.

A construction worker who worked on the installation of the drains system in Rothbury, where Moat shot himself dead early today during a stand off with police, said he could have spent hours underneath the feet of officers frantically hunting for him.

Moat &daughter
Moat &daughter

The builder, who would give his name only as Jason, said the circular pipes are big enough for a man of Moat’s stature. And he said the pipes may have worked as a shield against heat detectors used by police during the week-long manhunt.

Paramedics rushed to the scene and Moat was taken to Newcastle General Hospital in an ambulance surrounded by a police convoy with wailing sirens.

Moat, who had vowed to kill police until he was dead, was finally cornered near a riverbank after an officer spotted him in the Northumberland village of Rothbury shortly after 7pm.

Witnesses reported seeing the killer sitting beneath a tree with a sawn-off shotgun pointed at his head before lying down on his front.

Moat had become increasingly desperate after his two alleged accomplices were arrested and he had spent days fending for himself on the run from scores of police officers who had descended on the village.

Incredibly, he was found near a house which he had apparently broken into and slept in earlier in the week, raising the possibility that he had been lurking under the noses of police throughout the multimillion-pound manhunt.

He was wanted over three shootings, one of which claimed the life of his ex-girlfriend’s lover.

Police had brought in a childhood friend of Moat’s – named locally as Tony Laidler – in a bid to persuade the 37-year-old to give himself up during the stand-off.

Moat haven
Moat haven

The pair worked as bouncers in Newcastle until Moat lost his accreditation following a conviction for violent crime.

Peter Addison, who lives in Rothbury, said: ‘I was just 20 yards away when it first started. I heard some shouts from the officers at the riverbank and saw Moat walking along by the river.

‘They were armed officers and were shouting at him to try to get control of the situation. In a matter of minutes another half a dozen officers arrived.

‘He was told to lie on his side.

‘He pointed the gun to the side of the head and he was in that position for at least an hour and a half and after that he must have got tired because he changed his position.’

‘He pointed the gun to the side of the head and he was in that position for at least an hour and a half and after that he must have got tired because he changed his position.’

Officers told Moat that if he pointed the gun at one of them, then he would be shot dead immediately.

Negotiators gave Moat a sandwich and witnesses said he appeared to have calmed down after about two hours.

Trisha Best, 40, was in her car when two police vehicles screeched to a halt and officers told her to get out and take cover.

She dashed into some cottages and saw Moat through a rear window that overlooked the village’s river.

‘It was like something you see on TV,’ she said. ‘Moat was very scruffy. At first he was lying down with a shotgun held against his neck.

‘Then later he was sitting up talking to a police negotiator. It was very dramatic and tense. There were 12 armed officers about 15 yards from where he was sitting in the grass.

‘Then further back there were 12 more armed police carrying much larger guns.’

Ken Branson was walking along the river in the rain when he realised that a man he had spotted with a mohican hairstyle was Moat.

‘As we were walking away two police cars arrived and armed officers got out, requesting Moat to lower his gun.

‘He refused but took to his knees and put the weapon to his head.’

Residents were ordered indoors as dozens of cars carrying armed police careered into the town.

Judith Ellis told BBC news: ‘We were on our way home and I looked down where the river was and I saw police snipers pointing at something. There were a load of police rushing down the street and the next thing two police cars crashed into one another. It was absolute mayhem.’

He appears to have forced her back door and taken a loaf of bread while she was upstairs showering.

Her home is close to the ‘Goldilocks’ house in Rothbury where Moat broke in and slept while the family who live there – a couple with young children – were away.

The family returned to find a window smashed, cupboards raided and food spilled. The owner then heard a noise behind a closed door and fled, fearing there was a burglar.

The young mother of two children raced to a neighbour to call police and, looking back, saw a light being turned off.

The woman, who did not want to be identified, told a friend that police had taken 15 minutes to respond to Tuesday night’s incident.

The friend Jan Frazer said: ‘There was the imprint of a body on a bed and a head on the pillow.’

Officers said they had recovered three mobiles since Moat began his shooting spree last Saturday.

The first was found in the early hours of Saturday after he executed karate expert Chris Brown, 29, and then shot his own ex-girlfriend Samantha Stobbart, 22.

A second phone, used to make two 999 calls to police before and after the shooting of PC David Rathband, 42, was also recovered.

Police said the third phone had not been used by Moat since Tuesday when his two alleged accomplices, Karl Ness, 26, and Qhuram Awan, 23, were held by officers walking along a path in the village.

Both men have since been charged with conspiracy to murder and possession of a firearm with intent to commit an indictable offence.

They are said to have toured the streets of Northumbria ‘looking for policemen to shoot’.

The developments were embarrassing for acting Northumbria Chief Constable Sue Sim who had told worried Rothbury residents on Thursday: ‘I am not saying he is going to be walking down the street with a gun.’

But just four hours after she uttered those words, Moat might have done just that.

A number of witnesses are convinced they saw Moat calmly strolling down their high street at
10.45pm wearing a hooded top and a baseball cap.

Last night Miss Stobbart’s grandmother Ann Hornsby, 69, said: ‘I thought he would have lasted longer.

‘He is very intelligent and he has outsmarted the police for a long time. I’m not surprised he has been under their noses all this time. He can turn his hand to most things and is resourceful.

‘He hated the police and thought they had a vendetta against him.

‘That is what this has all been about. He hated the police anyway but when Sam told him she was seeing a cop he lost control.’

Source: Mail