Moat aid loses bid for cut in sentence

ONE of the men convicted of helping gunman Raoul Moat has lost a bid to have his sentence reduced.

Karl Ness, 26, from North Tyneside, was jailed for life in March and ordered to serve a minimum of 40 years before he can apply for parole, after a five-week trial which saw him found guilty, by a jury at Newcastle Crown Court, of a string of serious charges.

Ness appealed against the ‘excessive’ sentence but his case was rejected by three Court of Appeal judges in London.

Qhuram Awan, was also jailed for life and must stay behind bars for at least 20 years.

Former doorman Moat shot his ex-girlfriend Samantha Stobbart, 22, and killed her new boyfriend Chris Brown, 29, in Birtley, in July 2010. The next day he shot and blinded traffic officer PC David Rathband.

A plea by Ness that his sentence was ‘excessive’ was rejected by the Lord Chief Justice, Lord Judge, sitting with Mr Justice Sweeney and Mr Justice Singh.

Announcing the decision, Lord Judge said Ness had taken part in an ‘appalling catalogue of crime’. It was argued on behalf of Ness during last Wednesday’s proceedings that his sentence was ‘exceptional’.

Lord Judge said: “It clearly is exceptional and we recognise that. The reality is that this was a case of exceptionally grave crime.”

Ness helped source a gun while Moat was in prison, spied on Miss Stobbart and helped research the identity of her new lover on the internet. He was convicted of murdering Mr Brown, despite not pulling the trigger.

Awan, 23, from Blyth, and Ness were convicted of conspiracy to murder police officers and the attempted murder of PC Rathband.

Awan was driving on the night Moat declared war on police, before he crept up on the unsuspecting officer, while Ness was also in the car. They were also there when Moat held up a chip shop in Seaton Delaval the next day. Both men were convicted of robbery.

They helped Moat set up a secret camp in a field outside Rothbury. They went shopping for supplies and never raised the alarm.

They claimed they were being held hostage and were too scared to tip off police. They were arrested by officers who disorientated them with a stun grenade.

Moat shot himself three days later in a stand-off with police.