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Ex warns that killer has skills to evade manhunt

FUGITIVE killer Raoul Moat has enough local knowledge and survival skills to hide out in the woods for days, a former lover said.

The ex-prisoner, who in a rambling letter to police admitted to being a "killer and a maniac", loves camping and fishing and spent many weekends in the Northumberland countryside as a younger man.

His written declaration of war leads police to believe he would rather die taking them on than give himself up peacefully.

The 37-year-old even described himself feeling like The Hulk, when "it takes over and it's more than anger and it happens only when I'm hurt, and this time I was really hurt."

But a different picture was painted by waitress Yvette Foreman (35), who dated the former nightclub doorman more than a decade ago.

She said: "He was a lovely lad back then. He had long blonde hair in a ponytail, which he wore plaited with loads of little coloured beads.

"He'd come up to stay from Newcastle for the weekend and we'd go off to the woods.

"He was daft as a brush, a real practical joker. He once soaked my dad with water."

It was during their romance that he got to know the Rothbury area well.

She said: "We'd go camping and fishing here loads when we were younger, almost every weekend, and he knows the woods and hills like the back of his hand.

"There's so much woodland and so many little nooks and crags out there I think he could hide out for days."

Armed officers shut down Rothbury, Northumberland, guarded schools with machine guns and scoured hundreds of acres of fields as the manhunt continued.

The search for the former bouncer, who blasted his ex-lover Samantha Stobbart and her new boyfriend Chris Brown on Saturday, then badly injured PC David Rathband less than 24 hours later, moved away from Tyneside, after a black Lexus he had been using was spotted in a small industrial complex.

In another twist, two men who were said to be held hostage by Moat were located near the village and arrested on suspicion of conspiracy to murder.

Detectives will continue to question the pair.

Police revealed Moat, suspected to be a steroid abuser, has been arrested 12 times and charged with seven separate offences.

But his only conviction came earlier this year for assaulting a child.

He was jailed for 18 weeks and was released on Thursday.

He blames police for taking away his freedom, his children and his girlfriend.

In his note, he warned: "The public need not fear me but the police should as I won't stop till I'm dead."