Sunday 19 November 2017

Tasers fired at cornered Raoul Moat had no effect

Tom Wilkinson and Hugh Macknight

The police officers who fired Tasers at cornered killer Raoul Moat said today that one missed and the other had no effect.

The wanted murderer told police negotiators "this is all going to end in this field tonight", an inquest jury at Newcastle Crown Court heard.

Two West Yorkshire Police firearms officers - identified in court as Zulu 24 and Victor 24 - used experimental X12 shotgun Tasers on Moat after he appeared to prepare to kill himself.

They had been called to the grassy area by the River Coquet in Rothbury, Northumberland, to relieve other armed officers who had been containing Moat for several hours.

A huge manhunt had been launched after Moat shot his ex-girlfriend Sam Stobbart, murdered her new boyfriend Chris Brown, 29, and later blinded Pc David Rathband.

During the stand-off, negotiators developed a good rapport with Moat, Zulu 24 said.

The man who declared war on police even told them where he had hidden a gun in woods as he did not want a child to find it, the officer said.

But the tone of negotiations became "sinister" and the officer said: "Moat went on to say he didn't want to be a drain on society, that he didn't want to go to jail, and one particular thing he did say was it was all going to end in this field tonight."

Moat shuffled his feet, and in a swift movement brought the gun from under his chin and pointed it at his temple, the officer said.

"I thought he was going to shoot himself."

Zulu 24, who was aiming an X12 shotgun at Moat's chest, fired.

He said: "Moat let out a noise as if he had been struck by something. He has then rocked back slowly and then discharged the shotgun.

"I was aware my round had struck him. I don't think it had any effect."

He said when he fired an X26 handgun-style Taser previously, it had made a loud, crackling noise, but that did not happen with the X12.

Coroner David Mitford asked: "Was there any effect on Mr Moat?"

The witness replied: "None whatsoever, sir."

Victor 24 realised his colleague's Taser had not incapacitated Moat, so he fired his X12 but it missed.

The cartridge was later recovered from the river behind.

Almost immediately after he fired, there was a "muffled bang" from Moat's direction, he told the inquest.

The killer went limp and fell backwards into weeds.

Under cross-examination, Victor 24 said: "It was do something or do nothing and watch him commit suicide."

The inquest heard it was the first time the officers had seen the X12 and they had never fired one before.

Moat's body was pulled clear of the long grass by police officers and paramedics.

A sergeant named as Tango 19 told the hearing: "He had blood splattered across his face. His eyes were open but his eyeballs had rolled back.

"My overriding feeling was one of sadness that because of Moat's actions we had not been able to bring him to justice and bring him to court for what he was suspected of."

He was asked whether being hit by a Taser round could have caused Moat to shoot himself by accident as a result of his muscles contracting on the shotgun trigger.

He said there was "a clear pause" between the sound of the Taser shots and Moat flinching and the gunman shooting himself.

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