Gunman Raoul Moat kills himself in stand-off with police

CRAZED gunman Raoul Moat made a dramatic last stand today, killing himself at the end of a week-long manhunt.

The 37-year-old blasted himself in the head after being surrounded by armed police.

It followed a tense six-hour stand-off sparked when he was spotted on the riverbank in Rothbury, Northumbria.

An eyewitness told the Press Association 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.

Susan Ballantyne, whose house overlooks the scene of the stand-off, said police had crowded around Moat and pounced.

Another witness, who lives near the river bank where Moat was holed-up, said he heard him telling negotiators: "Nobody cares about me."

Moat's death brings to an end a huge manhunt involving police officers from 15 forces, Scotland Yard sharpshooters and armoured 4x4 cars.

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

The drama began at around 7.20pm yesterday when police responded to reports Moat was on the riverside.

Officers warned people to stay indoors for their own safety as they surrounded the fugitive who witnesses said was lying on the ground with a sawn-off shotgun pointed at his head.

As the siege wore on Moat apparently relaxed and allowed police to bring him food and water.

But at about 1.15am, with heavy rain lashing down, officers apparently attempted to wrestle Moat to the ground. The 17-stone steroid addict shot himself.

Chief Superintendent Mark Dennett of Northumbria Police said: "Police discovered a man fitting the description of Raoul Thomas Moat at around 7pm near the riverbank in the vicinity of Rothbury.

"When he was discovered he was armed. Expert negotiators were brought in to speak to him and spoke to him extensively for several hours."

The father of three went on the run a week ago after blasting his ex-girlfriend and killing her new lover.

Karate instructor Chris Brown, 29, was gunned down in the Scafell area of Birtley, Gateshead.

The fatal shooting, in which 22-year-old Miss Stobbart received critical injuries, sparked a manhunt as Moat declared "war" on police.

Pc David Rathband, 42, was shot early on Sunday in an "unprovoked attack" while sitting in a patrol car in East Denton, Newcastle.

In chilling letters left for officers he claimed to be a "killer and a maniac" and pledged to keep shooting police until he died.

Initially it was believed Moat posed a serious risk only to his former girlfriend and police officers. He holds a series of grudges against the police and was only released from a short spell in prison on July 1.

But on Thursday police warned that Moat had made threats against the wider public.

Police asked media to stop reporting aspects of Moat's private life that he may find offensive after he made contact to say that every time there was an inaccurate report he would kill a member of the public.

The focus of the hunt turned to the small town of Rothbury - 30 miles north of Newcastle - on Tuesday after a car linked to Moat was found abandoned.

Police have been stationed outside schools and people who live in the area warned to keep windows and doors locked.

Also on Tuesday Karl Ness and Qhuram Awan - originally thought to be hostages - were found wandering along a country lane. Both have since appeared in court charged with conspiracy to murder.

A damaged police dog handler's vehicle was towed away on a breakdown truck as dawn began to break.

Police officers continued to keep a wide cordon around the scene.

Although a steady stream of police vehicles had left Rothbury since the shooting, at least a dozen could be seen parked around the Recreation Club, close to where Moat's final stand took place.

Later Northumbria Police said: "Police can now confirm that Raoul Thomas Moat, 37, of Newcastle, died in hospital early this morning.

"It followed several hours of negotiations between Moat and police but at around 1.15am it appears, from information available, Moat shot himself.

"He was taken to hospital but was pronounced dead at around 2.20am.

"No officers or members of the public were injured."

Northumbria Police today confirmed Moat's death had been referred to the Independent Police Complaints Commission (IPCC).

A statement said it appeared no shots had been fired by police officers and added: "Because police had contact with Moat prior to his death, the incident has been referred to the IPCC at the earliest opportunity, which is required in such cases."

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."

Next page: Timeline The manhunt for fugitive Raoul Moat ended dramatically after he apparently shot himself by a riverbank before armed police rushed in to apprehend him. He is being treated in hospital.

Here is how events have unfolded:

Thursday July 1

Moat, 37, from Newcastle, is freed from Durham Prison after serving a jail term for assault.

Friday July 2

Durham Prison warns Northumbria Police that Moat may intend to cause serious harm to his former partner, Samantha Stobbart, 22.

7.30pm - Moat is caught on CCTV in a shop in Newcastle. He is pictured with a distinctive Mohican-style haircut, wearing an orange T-shirt.

Saturday July 3

2.40am - Miss Stobbart's boyfriend, Chris Brown, 29, is shot dead outside a house in the Scafell area of Birtley, Gateshead.

Shots are then fired through the living room window. Miss Stobbart is hit twice and left in a critical condition.

Moat is believed to have taken two men hostage around the time of the shooting.

With a news blackout put in place due to a "significant risk" to the lives of the men, police do not reveal this until a press conference the following Tuesday.

Early hours - The first mobile phone handset used by Moat is found in Birtley at the scene where Moat's ex-lover, Samantha Stobbart, and her new boyfriend, Chris Brown, were shot.

11.30am - Detective Superintendent Steve Howes, of Northumbria Police, launches a manhunt, telling the media: "I would like to stress that this is not a random attack and that the people involved are all known to each other."

2.20pm - Police announce that they are trying to trace Moat in connection with the shootings.

Mr Howes says the attacker knew his victims, adding: "We believe the offender targeted his victims because of a grudge he held against them."

Sunday July 4

0.45am - A police officer, later identified as married father-of-two Pc David Rathband, 42, is shot in an "unprovoked attack" at a roundabout joining the A1 and A69 in East Denton, Newcastle.

The officer is rushed to Newcastle General Hospital and undergoes surgery. His condition is described as critical but stable.

Police later reveal that Moat called 999 about 12 minutes before the attack, threatening to shoot a police officer, and rang back 50 minutes after the shooting.

It is reported that Moat also taunted police online, posting a message on his Facebook page saying: "Ha, Ha! You can come but you can't catch me!"

Moat writes a 49-page confession letter headed Raoul Moat Murder Statement 4/7/10 in which he details the shootings and vows to keep killing police until he is dead.

6am - Northumbria Police announce that the shooting is linked to the Birtley inquiry and Temporary Chief Constable Sue Sim names Moat as a wanted man who is very dangerous and should not be approached by the public.

Detectives say they believe Moat may also hold a grudge against the police.

2.30pm - Northumbria Police appeal directly to Moat, pleading with him to give himself up.

Detective Chief Superintendent Neil Adamson says: "This has to stop now."

Monday July 5

Northumbria Police confirm firearms officers from other forces have been drafted in to help with the manhunt.

11.10am - Mrs Sim reveals during a press conference that Northumbria Police have referred their response to the information passed on by Durham Prison to the Independent Police Complaints Commission.

During the press conference, police also reveal they received a handwritten letter purportedly from Moat setting out a "general grievance" with the police.

Mr Adamson says there are indications that other people may be at risk and a number of them have been given police protection.

6.45pm - Police release a picture of Pc Rathband's bloody face as he recovers in hospital from gunshot wounds.

10.50pm - An armed robbery takes place at a fish and chip shop in Delaval Fish Bar in Astley Road, Seaton Delaval, near Blyth. A man of a similar description to Moat brandishes a gun and steals cash.

Police confirm in a press conference the following Wednesday that they believe Moat was responsible.

11pm - Police give details of a car connected to Moat which officers are trying to trace. The vehicle is a black Lexus with the registration number V322 HKX.

Farmer Graham Noble, of Thrum Mill Farm, Rothbury, Northumberland, later reveals the car was parked in the village all day but residents did not know the significance until the police appeal.

Tuesday July 6

5am - Police reveal details of last night's fish and chip shop robbery.

6.45am - People living in Springwell Road, Gateshead, see a police helicopter hovering overhead. It remains in the area until around 8.30am.

It is one of eight police operations as the hunt for Moat continues, moving north from Newcastle to the countryside.

11.15am - Police announce they have set up a two-mile exclusion zone on the ground around Rothbury and a five-mile zone in the air.

People are warned to stay indoors and locals say schools are closed as a precaution.

11.45am - At a police press conference, Mr Adamson says that shortly after 10am, following information from the public, a police operation in the Rothbury area led officers to the black Lexus car, which was unoccupied.

He says two men, believed to be the hostages, were seen walking along a road near Rothbury and were arrested on suspicion of conspiracy to commit murder.

The detective also tells reporters a man was arrested during a raid on the home of a former bouncer in Wrekenton, Gateshead.

12.30pm - Police surround Pike House, a disused Grade II listed farm building near Rothbury.

Armed officers are seen searching the two-storey premises after a window is forced open to allow a police dog to enter.

Marksmen from several forces search abandoned buildings, forests and grassland on the edge of Northumberland National Park, 30 miles north of Newcastle.

1.20pm - Police reveal that Moat has only one previous conviction, for common assault, but has been arrested 12 times and charged with seven separate offences.

2pm - Armed police guard Dr Thomlinson Church of England Middle School and staff and children are asked to remain inside until they are given further instruction.

3.20pm - Steven Bridgett, the Northumberland county councillor for Rothbury, says police are searching an area of dense foliage at the back of his house in Jubilee Crescent.

He says the area being investigated is locally called the Whitton area, and it backs on to the Dr Thomlinson Middle School.

3.40pm - A police spokesman says a reception centre has been set up at Longhorsley First School for people trying to return to Rothbury.

4pm - Farmer Jessica Taylor describes how she went to Rothbury police station at 9.30am after noticing smoke, suspecting Moat camped on her family's land overnight. Police searched Wagtail Farm but did not find Moat.

Wednesday July 7

Karl Ness, 26, and Qhuram Awan, 23, are named as the two men being held on suspicion of conspiracy to commit murder.

Police had treated the men as hostages but when they were found walking in Rothbury, near where Moat's Lexus was dumped, they were arrested as possible accomplices.

11am - Police reveal that another letter from Moat was found in a tent in a secluded spot near Rothbury.

Police offer a 10,000 reward for information which leads to Moat being captured and Temporary Chief Constable Mrs Sim says "no stone will be unturned" as she appeals for the public's continued support.

Mr Adamson says they believe Moat has access to weapons and ammunition, and others may be helping him stay on the run.

He also gives a new description of Moat.

The Police Service of Northern Ireland says it has sent 20 armoured cars to assist Northumbria Police, while Scotland Yard has also sent 40 armed officers to help.

Around 6pm - A further two men are arrested in the vicinity of Rothbury on suspicion of assisting an offender.

7pm - A team of armed officers escort a man, later confirmed as an associate of Moat, near Rothbury as the search for the suspected gunman intensifies.

It is understood the man, who was wearing a flak jacket, is helping police to identify areas where the fugitive may have been hiding out.

10.30pm - A caller phones police with information about a vehicle potentially involved in the investigation.

11pm - Police receive a hoax phone call.

Thursday July 8

2.50am - Two men arrested in connection with the hunt for Moat are charged with conspiracy to commit murder and possessing a firearm with intent.

10am - Karl Ness, 26, from Dudley in North Tyneside, and Qhuram Awan, 23, from Blyth in Northumberland, appear at Newcastle Magistrates Court. Both men are remanded in custody.

1pm - Police say information has emerged that Moat has made threats towards the wider public.

Afternoon - A third mobile phone handset belonging to Moat is discovered by a member of the public out walking in open land around Rothbury.

Afternoon - Police arrest a man and a woman in Blyth, Northumberland on suspicion of assisting an offender.

6.30pm - Chief Superintendent Mark Dennett urges the public to stay out of secluded areas around Rothbury and be "extra vigilant".

"Don't put yourself at unnecessary risk. Close your doors, close your windows, make sure you are safe in your houses," he says. "Please go about your normal business, but with some vigilance."

Police address residents` concerns at a packed public meeting in Rothbury attended by around 300 people.

Police chiefs agree to station officers at schools in the Rothbury area after locals demanded increased safety.

The meeting ends with a brief round of applause after officers answer questions for more than an hour.

Friday, July 9

Early hours - Two men arrested in the Rothbury area at 6pm on Wednesday on suspicion of assisting an offender are released on police bail pending further inquiries.

11.08am - Pictures are released by police showing the equipment Moat was using to hide in his woodland lair. The images show a duvet, tent and sleeping bag, found in a secluded area on land at Wagtail Farm, on the outskirts of Rothbury.

12.37pm - Police reveal they have found three of Moat's mobile phones and are pursuing fresh leads in connection with the information recovered from them.

One, used to make the two 999 calls to police before and after Pc David Rathband was shot early on Sunday, was recovered - although police will not say from where or when.

1pm - National Trust stately home Cragside House is closed to the public as armed police descend on the property as part of the search for Moat.

4.36pm - It is confirmed an RAF Tornado jet fitted with hi-tech imaging equipment is being used in the manhunt.

7pm - A huge burst of police activity ensues as it emerges an armed Moat has been cornered next to a riverbank in Rothbury. He is surrounded by police snipers, with police negotiators moving in.

One witness, Chris Robertson, says he thought he had seen Moat holding a sawn-off shotgun to his neck.

9.45pm - Moat's friend Tony Laidler is reportedly escorted into the police cordon.

10pm - Food and water are brought in for Moat as the stand-off continues.

Saturday, July 10

Shortly after 1am - A gunshot is heard at the stand-off scene as well as furious shouting from police officers.

Police confirm Moat shot himself, and no shots were fired by police officers. He is taken off in an ambulance.

2.20am - Police say Moat is in hospital receiving treatment for his injuries.

3.12am - Police sources confirm Moat has died from a gunshot wound.