Pair convicted of helping gunman Raoul Moat

Karl Ness (left) and Qhuram Awan.
Karl Ness (left) and Qhuram Awan.

Two men are facing jail after being convicted of being gunman Raoul Moat’s henchmen during his murderous rampage in Northumberland.

Karl Ness and Qhuram Awan conspired with Moat before, during and after he shot three people, killing one and seriously injuring the others.

The jury at Newcastle Crown Court convicted Ness of murder, and both defendants of conspiracy to murder, attempted murder and robbery.

Ness was also convicted of possession of a firearm with intent to endanger life. Awan was cleared of that charge.

Pc David Rathband, who was left blinded when Moat shot him in the face, hugged his sobbing wife Kath in the public gallery as the verdicts were delivered.

Ness, 26, of Dudley, North Tyneside, was with steroid addict Moat on the night he calmly executed karate expert Chris Brown, 29.

Mr Brown’s mother Sally was also in tears as the verdicts were delivered.

Both defendants appeared to collapse when they learned their fate and held their heads in the hands for several minutes.

The men claimed they were held hostage by Moat, who killed himself during a stand-off with police in Rothbury.

Sentencing was adjourned until Tuesday.

Moat died on the banks of Rothbury’s Riverside after a six-hour stand-off with police following his five day rampage.

After the verdict Detective Superintendent Jim Napier said: “For the sake of the victims and their families in this case we are delighted with the jury’s verdict.

“As an investigative team we were always convinced that Moat was helped and today’s verdict justifies our suspicions.

“Both Ness and Awan have, in my view, acted in a cowardly manner.

“They failed to take responsibility for their actions which ultimately led to the death of Christopher Brown and the injuries sustained by David Rathband and Samantha Stobbart last July.

“It is clear from the evidence there could have been further victims had they managed to carry out their plan to kill or injure more police officers.

“They had opportunities to alert others to their plight if they had been held against their will – which clearly they were not.

“Neither has apologised to the victims or their families who will have to live with the consequences of their actions for the rest of their lives.

“I would like to thank all those involved in this inquiry, including my investigative team, colleagues from the CPS and counsel who all displayed great determination in bringing these men to justice.

“Although a trial cannot reverse the terrible events that took place and the consequences of them I hope that it helps the family of Christopher Brown to carry on with their lives as best they can. All our thoughts are with them and with David and Samantha who were injured.

In a post-verdict statement Chris Brown’s mother Sally said: “During the early hours of Saturday 3rd July 2010 my son Christopher was murdered.

“The six months since have been a huge emotional strain on the family. He is missed hugely by all those who knew him.

“We have been left devastated by the loss and our lives have changed forever since we received the news on that Saturday.

“Today’s guilty verdict has come as a great relief to us.

“We would like to thank the officers from Northumbria Police for their efforts in bringing the case to court and ensuring that justice has been done, and would like to thank everyone who assisted them in the inquiry. We would also like to thank everyone for their kind thoughts through an extremely difficult time.

“We hope that Christopher is now at peace.

“We would appreciate as a family that we are left alone to rebuild our lives and that our privacy is respected.”

Sally Brown also issued the following statement: “Christopher was born on the 11th April 1981 - as a toddler he was full of energy and always on the move and there was no holding him back.

“He was a really happy child and before I knew it was time for him to go to school. The teachers would say ‘he thinks he’s in the playground - he’s all play and no work’.

“We were protective parents, always worrying about our children, so when we enrolled Christopher into Judo lessons he saw this as an opportunity to escape for a couple of hours. We hoped it would tire him out, but he would return home with even more energy than when he left.

“Christopher was an average student, he believed life was for living and would regularly say ‘Doris (this was what he called me) as long as I have my looks I will be ok’.

“This became a standing joke in the family and it brings a tear to our eyes each time we hear the song ‘You’re so Vain’ as this best describes Christopher.

“As a teenager he was very popular and developed a special bond with a group of friends. It wasn’t long before there was a constant stream of girls knocking on the front door, following him wherever he went.

“On reflection I can understand why they found him attractive as he was an affectionate man. He was liked by everyone he met and very sociable. He was definitely a ‘people person’ so wherever he went I knew he would make new friends very quickly.

“Christopher was no angel, he wasn’t perfect, my view was “boys will be boys”, but he was my youngest and was a typical mummy’s boy. Like any other mother and son we had our disagreements, but before I knew it he would be giving me a cuddle and all would be forgotten - after all he was my baby and he knew it.

“Even when he moved out he always remained very close to his sister Beckie and confided in her - especially around his feelings towards his two children.

“In his late teens Christopher struggled to find permanent work until the day he came across a local karate demonstration in our local community.

“Typically of Christopher, he started to chat to the instructor and the next thing we knew he was actively involved in the club and ultimately became an instructor.

“His passion was so strong that he would go door-to-door, encouraging parents to enrol their children. He was well respected in the community and they share our loss.

“Between karate and socialising Christopher had one other passion and that was cooking. He particularly enjoyed cooking from scratch and was always experimenting with recipes from around the world

“In October 2009 Christopher told me he had the opportunity to move to Newcastle to teach karate. I kept in touch with him regularly and his only complaint was he couldn’t believe how cold it was!

“He said he had met some really nice people and was settling into his new life.

“My son was a happy go-lucky, loving individual. He would make a good situation out of a bad one and always thought of others before himself.

“Losing Christopher has left a massive void in our lives that will never be filled.

“My family, like many others who have lost loved ones in such sudden circumstances, are having to cope with the emptiness, sadness and loss, while desperately trying to live life as normal as possible.

“We are trying to believe it was Christopher’s loving, caring nature that caused his life to be taken away from him so prematurely on Saturday 3rd July 2010.

“As a family we would like to thank Northumbria Police and supporting agencies for their compassion and support in keeping us from losing our sense of direction during this terrible time.”