Bodybuilder Raoul Moat sparked one of the biggest manhunts in British history...
In a suburban street of Gateshead, everything seemed peaceful at 2am on 3 July 2010. But still, Samantha Stobbart, 22, was nervous. Her ex, Raoul Moat, 37, had been released from prison the previous day.
Shaven-headed Moat was 6ft 3in, 17st of muscle, and filled with rage. Jealous and paranoid, during their six-year relationship he often hit her, even holding her at gunpoint once.
When he’d just been jailed for assaulting a 9-year-old child, distraught Samantha had ended their relationship for good. She said she’d met a policeman, who could ‘knock him out’.
‘I’ll go crazy,’ Moat had warned, fuming.
In fact, her new boyfriend Chris Brown, 29, was a karate instructor. Samantha had lied, to scare Moat away. Now they were at a friend’s house when suddenly Moat appeared outside the lounge window…
‘I didn’t see the gun at first,’ she testified later.
As Chris leapt in front of Samantha, Moat fired his sawn-off shotgun, shooting him in the chest. Next he shot Samantha in the abdomen and chest. While she survived, Chris died at the scene. Then crazed Raoul went on the run…
‘I’m coming to get you,’ he taunted police. ‘I’m hunting for officers.’
True to his word, he shot traffic officer David Rathband in the face and chest, blinding him. A week later, following a six-hour stand off with armed police in a remote field, Moat shot himself in the head.
What had driven him to such a deadly rampage?
Moat had a difficult childhood. His mother was bipolar and Moat never knew his dad. Raised by his grandmother, Moat later claimed his mother often beat him. Certainly, she once burnt all his toys in front of him.
When he was 13, his mother married Brian Healey, who Moat clashed with, causing more family tension because they argued.
Perhaps he felt rejected, like he didn’t belong anywhere. Abandoned and out-of-place.
Leaving school, Moat became a panel-beater, night-time bouncer, and bodybuilder, using steroids to bulk his muscles. But the drugs caused terrible nightmares and paranoia.
Regardless, he had two daughters with one partner, and kept custody when they split. Then, age 31, he started dating 16-year-old Samantha. The pair had a daughter, but Moat was convinced Samantha was cheating. They often fought, and he’d beat her. Plus, he slept with an axe and a crossbow beneath his bed, and obsessively watched CCTV footage of passers-by outside his home.
Scared, Samantha repeatedly left him, but such was Moat’s control, she always returned. Meanwhile, Moat was regularly arrested by police for a range of charges including possession of weapons, assault, and even conspiracy to murder. But despite 12 arrests he was never convicted.
All the while, his mental condition was deteriorating. In 2006, his psychologist noted Moat felt ‘jumpy all the time’. Eventually his doorman’s licence was revoked, so Moat started trading in second-hand cars and scrap metal. But it didn’t last long Then, in 2010, Moat was convicted for assaulting a young child, and sentenced to 18 weeks.
Then his worst fear came true when Samantha said she’d left him for a policeman. On his release from Durham prison on 1 July, Moat immediately updated his Facebook status… I’ve lost everything, my business, my property and to top it all off, my lass has gone off with someone else. Watch and see what happens.
Then he tracked down the pair, shot them both. Next he gave a friend a 49-page letter, titled ‘Murder Statement,’ before going on the run.
The public need not fear me, but the police should as I will keep killing police until I am dead. They’ve hunted me for years, now it’s my turn. They took it all from me. My kids, my freedom, house, then Sam… I’m a killer and a maniac, but I ain’t no coward.
Moat then fled, and that night phoned police.
‘You bastards have been on to me, right, for years. You have hassled us, harassed us… I can’t drive down the street without the blue lights flashing. You police have took too much off me over the years. And now you think you can take me missus. As soon as I found out he was one of your officers I thought, ‘Nah, yous have had too much from me… I’m not on the run – I’m coming to get you.’
Next day, he drove around Newcastle with two accomplices, his friends Karl Ness and Qhuram Awan, who were both later jailed for their part in the spree. Spotting PC Rathband sitting in his patrol car on traffic duty, Moat shot him in the face, leaving him blinded, and suffering from critical injuries.
Three days later, Ness and Awan were arrested at a campsite where the trio had been hiding. There they found a recorder filled with more of Moat’s rantings. Armed policed swarmed the area. And after eight days on the run Moat was cornered on a riverbank near Rothbury, Northumberland.
There, he demanded police kill him. They refused, and for five hours there was a tense stand-off. Suddenly, Moat put the gun to his temple and shouted: ‘It ends in this field tonight.’
Trying to stop him, police fired tasers. But Moat pulled the trigger, making himself his final victim.