Justice for a village under siege

Activity in Rothbury on Wednesday morning surrounding the Raoul Moat incident.'Armed police maintain their presence in the centre of Rothbury.

Activity in Rothbury on Wednesday morning surrounding the Raoul Moat incident.'Armed police maintain their presence in the centre of Rothbury.

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A QUIET rural village which became the centre of one of Britain’s biggest manhunts has finally found closure after two men were jailed for life for their part in helping Raoul Moat evade police.

A week-long hunt for the self-confessed killer centred on Rothbury last July when he hid out in the area’s woodlands, evading capture by the police.

This week’s sentecing of Karl Ness and Qhuram Awan has meant residents in the village are breathing a sigh of relief that justice has been done.

Parish council chairman Coun Peter Dawson said: “Like many people I have viewed the events of this trial and wondered what the outcome would be.

“The guilty verdict and the life sentences with a minimum of 40 years and 20 years do seem to be just for the horrendous crimes this pair committed.

“Without their assistance this community would not have had to endure the most frightening week anyone can remember.

“There are many people who still have difficulties with last year’s events but these sentences do give some sense of closure.

“Justice has been done and more importantly been seen to be done.

“We are all aware that the inquest and inquiry into the Raoul Moat events are still to take place and only after this can we look forward to getting back to normal.

“I should like to extend my sympathy to the victims and their families of these senseless crimes for their lives will never be the same. Their dignity in the face of such horrendous crimes is a lesson to us all.”

Resident Duncan Elson came face-to-face with Ness, Awan and Moat in the village before police moved in.

“They were fine with me. Moat and Ness were keeping out of the way while Awan chatted to me, obviously so I didn’t look at the other two.

“I guess this is closure, it is all said and done and now we can all get on with our lives.

“It is just another part of Rohtbury’s rich history now. We will move on and get on with things.”

County councillor for Rothbury, Steven Bridgett added: “Clearly justice still exists. This punishment fits the crime. Had they handed themselves in at any time and done the right and normal thing I think the police could have completely avoided coming to Rothbury.”