'Five minutes of hell' with gunman

THE former girlfriend of killer Raoul Moat has described the "five minutes of hell" as he blasted her and her new boyfriend with a shotgun.

And Sam Stobbart, 22, revealed that her decision to use her arm as a shield when Moat, 37, opened fire, probably saved her life.

Fighting back tears she said: "Somehow the arm ended up in front of me as a block and the doctors have said to me if the arm wasn't there then I would have died.

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"It was actually the arm that saved me because it took all the pressure and the force."

Describing the moment when Moat fired at her new partner, karate instructor, Chris Brown, 29, she said: "Raoul jumped out from under the window, actually I shouted at Chris, and that's when Raoul shot Chris."

Her comments came after it was reported officers hunting for Moat were "excited" by the arrival of new Tasers just hours before they entered a stand-off with the gunman.

Witnesses described seeing the weapons being handed out to officers who they said then practised firing them at rubbish sacks.

Moat died after shooting himself at the end of a six-hour stand-off in the village of Rothbury, Northumberland.

It followed a week-long manhunt for the father-of-three, who killed Brown, wounded Ms Stobbart and shot Pc David Rathband, 42, as he sat in his police car at a roundabout. The attack has left him blind.

Moat went on the rampage after Miss Stobbart said she had left him for another man.

She watched as he shot her new boyfriend outside a friend's house in Birtley, near Gateshead, before turning his gun on her.

She said the gunman struggled to reload his weapon, giving her a few vital seconds to flee back inside the house.

"There was nothing I could do against a madman with a gun, I had to get back to the house to make sure my baby daughter Chanel was safe," she said.

Moat then fired at the hairdresser through a window, hitting her in the stomach.

"I looked out of the bay window and on to the green outside and I could see Chris in his yellow T-shirt slumped on the floor. I knew he had gone, I knew he was dead. I couldn't see Raoul, but I wasn't looking for him – I was staring at Chris.

"I saw the sparks flying off Raoul's gun as he shot me. Then I was on the floor with blood pumping out everywhere."

Speaking to a Sunday newspaper, Ms Stobbart admitted she lied by telling Moat while he was in prison her new boyfriend was a policeman in a bid to make him stay away from her.

But she said Moat knew Mr Brown was a karate instructor when he shot him a few weeks later.

Ms Stobbart also revealed Moat sent her a "get well" card in hospital while he was on the run.

Last week, the opening of the inquest into Moat's death heard two Tasers were fired at him around the same time as the fatal shot in an apparent attempt to stop him killing himself. It is not clear if they were fired before or after he turned his gun on himself.

Two firearms officers from West Yorkshire Police fired XRep Tasers, not approved by the Home Office, it emerged.

The weapon is being tested by the Home Office before being approved for use by police. But the Home Office stressed police could use any weapon they saw fit as long as its use was "lawful, reasonable and proportionate."