Trial ‘not just about Moat’

A JUDGE has warned jurors a trial was not all about Raoul Moat as he summed up the case against two men accused of being the killer’s accomplices.

Karl Ness and Qhuram Awan claim they were held hostage by the former doorman during his rampage in July before he died on the banks of the River Coquet in Rothbury.

Ness, 26, of Dudley, North Tyneside, is alleged to have been with steroid addict Moat on the night he shot and killed karate expert Chris Brown, 29. Moat then turned his gun on ex-girlfriend Samantha Stobbart, 22, leaving her fighting for her life in hospital as mechanic and tree surgeon Ness waited nearby.

Part-time mechanic and doorman Awan, 23, of Blyth, is alleged to have helped the pair afterwards by driving a getaway car.

The self-confessed ‘petrol head’ drove the 37-year-old in his modified black Lexus to the junction of the A1 and A69, where Moat shot Northumbria Police traffic officer PC David Rathband, 43, leaving him blind.

The prosecution allege that both men were with Moat when he robbed a Northumberland chip shop and helped him stay one step ahead of the law while he was on the run and hiding out in Rothbury.

The alleged accomplices told a Newcastle Crown Court jury they went along with Moat’s demands because they feared for their lives and those of their families.

Summing up in the five-week trial, High Court judge The Honourable Mr Justice McCombe, said: “You probably think it is abundantly clear that Raoul Moat murdered Chris Brown, attempted to murder PC Rathband and robbed a fish and chip shop with a shotgun.

“The question is to decide whether either or both of the defendants also plotted to help. This is not a trial of Raoul Moat; it is the trial of Qhuram Awan and Karl Ness.”

Ness denies murdering Chris Brown, and both defendants deny conspiracy to murder, the attempted murder of PC Rathband, a firearms offence and robbery of a fish and chip shop.

The case continues.