THE final hours of gunman Raoul Moat’s life will be put under the microscope when a jury hears evidence from Rothbury residents.
An inquest into the self-confessed killer’s death started at Newcastle Crown Court on Monday and has already been told how Moat’s murderous rampage was fuelled by his relationship break-up with ex-girlfriend Samantha Stobbart.
After shooting her and killing her new partner, Chris Brown, Moat went on to shoot and blind PC David Rathband, vowing to ‘destroy lives’ and keep hunting for police until he was dead.
Today, before a jury of five men and six women, evidence was due to be given from residents in Rothbury, where Moat met his death after a six-hour stand-off with police on the banks of the River Coquet.
The inquest, led by Newcastle coroner David Mitford, will also hear about Moat’s apprehension and detainment by police at Riverside.
Two police negotiators, who had direct contact with Moat during his final hours, are due to give evidence tomorrow.
On Tuesday, Moat’s estranged brother Angus told of his desperate bid to speak to his sibling just before he died.
Mr Moat said he had asked police if he could be taken to Rothbury to speak to his brother that night.
He said: “I was advised they thought it might not be a good idea. I told them it had been quite some time since I saw him and he said it might inflame the situation.”
Mr Moat said he wants to know exactly what went on at the scene that night and how his brother ended up dead.
The 41-year-old tax officer knew his younger brother had read reports in which his mother had claimed he would be ‘better off dead’ and said he wanted to persuade the fugitive a life sentence would be ‘better than death’.
Raoul Moat’s friend of 14 years, Anthony Wright, told the court that Miss Stobbart was deliberately winding up the gunman when she told him about her new partner.
Messages recorded on a dictation machine, when Moat was hiding out in Rothbury, were read out to the jury by Superintendent Jim Napier, who led the criminal investigation into Moat’s shootings.
In the message, Moat said: “If I went to jail now, I couldn’t hack it because I have lost everything and I have nothing to come out to.”
He added: “Just take the shoot-out and everybody’s happy.”
Moat also callously described leaving PC Rathband ‘a bit of a mess’ afterwards.
Yesterday, Northumbria Police’s PC Bailey, lead firearms training officer, and assistant Chief Constable Ashman were in the stand.
Earlier in the week, 999 calls were played to the jury, in which Moat confessed to killing Chris Brown and shooting his ex-girlfriend and PC Rathband.
Calls recorded at HMP Durham between Moat and Stobbart and Moat and Karl Ness, who was later sentenced to a minimum of 40 years in prison for assisting Moat while he was on the run, were also played.
In them, Miss Stobbart told Moat their relationship was over and that she had a new partner who would take him on.
Supt Napier said: “The break-up from Samantha Stobbart was the catalyst for the murderous acts.”
He added that when police searched Moat’s house after the first shootings in July last year, six letters, which indicated Moat’s intentions to take his own life, as well as ammunition and a noose in the loft hatch, were found.
In one of the letters to Miss Stobbart, he said: “I love you, always have and always will. I can’t go on without you.
“Knowing that you hate me is tearing me apart. I tried so hard for you but got nowhere. Maybe now you will understand just what effect this has had on me.”
Mr Mitford told the jury that they should try to ‘forget’ what they heard in media coverage from the manhunt last year and focus on the inquest. He added that no one was on trial, including Moat.
The inquest is set to last four weeks.
l Follow daily coverage of the inquest at www.northumberlandgazette.co.uk which includes video footage and dramatic phonecalls made to police by Moat.