A week-long manhunt that gripped the UK in July 2010 has been turned into a television drama, bringing Raoul Moat’s violent crimes back to public attention.
Neil Adamson, who was head of Northumbria Police CID when Moat went on the run after shooting three people, told ITV that it was “inevitable” the events would one day become a TV drama. “The circumstances were so unique. It was so dramatic and so awful.”
Moat was serving an 18-week sentence in Durham Prison in 2010 for assaulting a relative when he found out that his ex-girlfriend Samantha Stobbart had a new partner, Christopher Brown.
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Moat told an inmate that he planned to “harm” Stobbart when he was released, the Daily Mail reported. An unpublished report from the Independent Police Complaints Commission (IPCC), the name of the police watchdog at the time, seen by the BBC, suggested the police were informed of Moat’s threat, but the information wasn’t acted upon in time.
Moat was released on 1 July and his “shooting spree” began two days later, said ITV. “Driven by insane jealousy”, the 37-year-old used a “sawn-off shotgun” to fatally shoot 29-year-old Brown outside a house in Gateshead in the early hours of 3 July. He then shot 22-year-old Stobbart, who suffered life-threatening injuries, said the Daily Mirror. Moat and Stobbart’s daughter, Chanel, was asleep in the house at the time.
Within 24 hours, the killer carried out another brutal attack. PC David Rathband was finishing his shift in a patrol car in Newcastle when Moat snuck out of a nearby car and “blasted him twice in the face at point-blank range”, said the Mirror. The police officer survived, but was blinded in both eyes and took his own life in 2012.
After fleeing the scene, the “17-stone bully” then “went on the run” and “vanished into open country”, said the Mirror.
The UK’s “biggest ever manhunt” ensued, said the Mail. Police deployed 160 armed officers in the search for Moat, and “at least 10 armoured anti-terrorist vehicles were shipped over from Northern Ireland”, said the Independent. “Snipers, dogs, helicopters and even an RAF fighter jet were deployed in the search”, and police even “secretly recruited TV survival expert Ray Mears to help track Moat’s movements”.
Following reports of an armed robbery at a chip shop around ten miles from Newcastle on 5 July, a two-mile exclusion zone was set up in Rothbury and local residents were advised not to leave their homes.
On 6 July, Moat sent the police “a chilling warning” in a letter “declaring war on them”, said The Sun. The killer promised that he wouldn’t stop “until I’m dead”. Police appealed to the public for any information about the missing man’s whereabouts, and a £10,000 reward was offered.
After days “living rough” and “taunting police”, Moat was discovered in the National Trust’s Cragside estate on 9 July, said the Mirror. “A tense, hours-long standoff ensued” as Moat held a shotgun “to his neck”, said the Independent. Negotiators “desperately pleaded with the fugitive gunman” to hand himself over, said The Times, and urged him “to think of his children”.
The wanted man “gained a ghoulish cult status after attracting the unlikely interest of football legend Paul Gascoigne”, said the Mail. The former England star had “arrived in a taxi bearing lager, chicken and a fishing rod”, falsely claiming that he knew Moat and could persuade him to hand himself over to police. The police refused to allow him to speak to Moat, who brought the episode to a violent end by shooting himself at 1.15am on 10 July.
Two men who claimed that they had been taken hostage by Moat were arrested during the manhunt. Karl Ness was with Moat when he carried out his attacks on Brown and Stobbart, and his friend Qhuram Awan was driving the car that Moat was in moments before he attacked Rathband. The black Lexus that Awan was driving proved to be the “key to the hunt”, said the Mirror.
After a five-week trial the following year, the two accomplices were given life sentences for their involvement in Moat’s crimes.
Episode two of the three-part series The Hunt for Raoul Moat is on ITV1 tonight at 9pm
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