The mind-blowing story of Raoul Moat will hit our TV screens on Thursday July 8th, 10 years after the wild manhunt captured the nation as the drama unfolded on rolling news channels across the UK.
Fronted by journalist and Long Lost Family host Nicky Campbell, Manhunt: The Raoul Moat Story, will speak to the police officers who led the 2010 Northumbria police manhunt for Moat – a former nightclub doorman who went on the run after shooting his ex-girlfriend’s new boyfriend dead and severely wounding her.
After a seven-day chase, which also saw Moat shoot and blind PC David Rathband, he was eventually cornered by armed police in Rothbury – where he then took his own life.
As the rampage is thrust back into the TV spotlight, we take a look at the timeline of events that led to the devastating shootings and Moat’s own death.
Who is Raoul Moat?
Moat was a 37-year-old former club doorman from Newcastle. In July 2010, he was released from prison after serving a short sentence.
Two days after his release, Moat went looking for his ex-girlfriend Samantha Stobbart’s new partner, Chris Brown. Moat shot Brown in the head, killing him, while also severely injuring Moat’s ex.
Following the attack, Moat went on the run. He was believed to have a grudge against the police after Stobbart had lied to Moat about being in a relationship with a police officer.
Shortly after his release from prison, Moat posted threats to police and others on his Facebook profile. While on the run, Moat shot PC David Rathband, a patrol officer, who remained in hospital in a critical condition for three weeks and was left permanently blind.
After a seven day chase, the police received news that Moat was in Rothbury and cornered him. Moat was shot with an experimental “taser shotgun” firing electrified rounds, but it was ineffective.
Following a six-hour stand-off, Moat shot himself and he was pronounced dead at the scene.
What happened in the manhunt?
The manhunt lasted almost seven days, and was the largest in modern British history, involving 160 armed officers and armed response vehicles, many seconded for the operation from other police forces.
Police also used sniper teams, helicopters, dogs, armoured anti-terrorist police vehicles from Northern Ireland, tracker Ray Mears, and even a Royal Air Force jet for reconnaissance.
In the course of the hunt there were several raids and false alarms across the region. With Moat believed to be sleeping rough, police found Moat’s abandoned camp-sites and property as he evaded capture.
Armed guards were also posted outside schools in Rothbury after police announced that they believed Moat posed a threat to the wider public.
Several people were arrested during the hunt and after Moat’s death, suspected of assisting him with equipment, information, and in evading capture and selecting targets.
Timeline of events
July 1, 2010
- Raoul Moat is released from Durham prison after serving a short sentence for assault.
July 2, 2010
- Chris Brown, 29, and Samantha Stobbart go round to Samantha’s neighbour’s home in Scafell, Birtley.
July 3, 2010
- In the early hours, Karl Ness drives Moat to Birtley in a stolen white transit. As Ness waits in the van, Moat goes looking for Samantha and Chris, armed with the sawn off shotgun.
- Moat locates them in the neighbour’s house, where they were all sitting, chatting and socialising. He stays there for about an hour and can hear every word they’re saying – they were reportedly talking and laughing about him.
- 02:40 BST: Christopher and Samantha leave the house, walk along the short path to the gate where they are confronted by Moat, armed with the shotgun.
- Moat shoots him dead on on a patch of grass outside the house. Samantha and her neighbours run back in screaming, hysterically panicking. Moat reloads the two barrels of the shotgun and shoot a third cartridge into the back of Chris’ head at point blank range.
- Mr Brown’s girlfriend Samantha Stobbart is reportedly shot twice through a front window of the property and is hit in the abdomen.
- Around the corner Ness hears the gun shots and drives off.
- Moat flees the scene on foot hailing down a taxi on the way.
- 14:20 BST: The Police announce they are trying to trace Moat in connection with the shootings.
July 4, 2020
- 00:45 BST: An armed man, believed to be Moat, shoots a uniformed motor patrol officer on duty at a roundabout at East Denton, to the west of Newcastle. PC David Rathband, 42, is at Newcastle General in a “critical” condition.
- 06:00 BST: Northumbria police announce that the shooting is linked to the Birtley inquiry. Temporary Chief Constable Sue Sim says: “Raoul Thomas Moat is a wanted man. He is very dangerous and shouldn’t be approached by a member of the public.” Detectives also say they believe Moat may also hold a grudge against the police.
- 14:30 BST: Northumbria Police reveals Moat phoned officers in the early hours of the morning to say he believed Miss Stobbart was having an affair with a police officer. The public are warned not to approach him. Northumbria Police say they are using all their resources and tactics to track him down.
- It emerges that Moat was previously in a relationship with Miss Stobbart, who is believed to be the mother of his daughter.
July 5, 2010
- Extra firearms officers from forces including Cleveland, Humberside, West Yorkshire, South Yorkshire and Cumbria, are brought in overnight to join the hunt for Moat.
- It emerges that shortly before the attacks began Moat’s Facebook status was changed to read: “Just got out of jail, I’ve lost everything… Watch and see what happens.”
- 1:00 BST: Temporary Chief Constable Sue Sim, of Northumbria Police, tells a news conference the force was warned on Friday by Durham prison that Moat may intend to “cause serious harm to his partner”. She says the case has been referred to the Independent Police Complaints Commission.
- Police also say Miss Stobbart is no longer in a critical condition and has appealed directly to Moat, saying: “Please give yourself up. If you still loved me and our baby you would not be doing this.”
- Det Ch Supt Neil Adamson says Moat dialled 999 about 12 minutes before shooting PC Rathband to warn that he intended to target a police officer.
- 22:30 BST: Police release details of a car they want to trace in the search for Moat.
July 6, 2010
- A letter apparently written by Moat declares war on the police and promises not to stop “until I’m dead”.
- Police investigate an armed robbery on Monday 5 July at Seaton Delaval, near Blyth, about 10 miles from Newcastle, carried out by a man with a similar description to Moat.
- 11:20 BST: A two-mile exclusion zone is set up in the Rothbury area of Northumberland. Residents are advised to stay indoors by Northumbria Police.
- 11:40 BST: Police reveal that they had been dealing with a hostage situation. However, the two men involved, said to have been taken at the time of the shooting in Birtley, have now been arrested in Rothbury on suspicion of conspiracy to commit murder.
July 7, 2010
- The Police Service of Northern Ireland says it has sent 20 armoured cars to assist Northumbria Police. The Metropolitan Police has sent 40 armed officers.
- Temporary Chief Constable Sue Sim says “no stone will be unturned” as she appeals for continuing support from the public.
- Police offer a £10,000 reward for information which leads to Moat’s capture.
July 8, 2020
- 10:00 BST: New CCTV images of Moat, with a distinctive Mohican-style haircut in a Newcastle shop on Friday, are released by police.
- 10:30 BST: Karl Ness and Qhuram Awan appear in court accused of being “part and parcel” of Moat’s conspiracy to kill policemen. The pair were arrested after being found walking in the Rothbury area on Tuesday.
- 13:00 BST: Police say information has emerged that Moat has made threats towards the wider public.
- 14:00 BST: Moat’s uncle Charlie Alexander appeals for his nephew to give himself up.
- 18:30 BST: A public meeting is held in Rothbury as police urge people to “be vigilant”, and agree to station officers outside schools in the town to reassure parents and pupils.
- 14:00 BST: Moat’s uncle Charlie Alexander appeals for his nephew to give himself up.
- 22:00 BST: A journalist believes she saw Moat while she was finishing up with the news in Rothbury. She says she ran to her colleague and a police officer who were nearby, but couldn’t get to them and Moat walked right past them and disappeared. This was the break the police needed.
July 9, 2020
- 19:27 BST: Local people in the Rothbury area are advised by police to stay inside for safety while a major operation takes place. Armed police set up a cordon around the National Trust’s Cragside Estate in Rothbury.
- 20:00 BST: Northumbria Police begin negotiating with a man – later confirmed as Moat – who has been located in the riverbank area in Rothbury.
- 21:00 BST: Witnesses report seeing the man lying on the ground with a shotgun pointed under his neck. Police are about about 20ft (7m) from him.
- Moat is shot with an experimental “taser shotgun” firing electrified rounds, but it’s ineffective.
July 10, 2020
- 01:15 BST: After a six-hour stand-off in Rothbury, Moat shoots himself.
- 01:55 BST: An ambulance, accompanied by two police cars, is seen speeding away from Rothbury. The convoy later arrives at Newcastle General Hospital.
- 02:20 BST: Moat is confirmed dead.
- 13:26 BST: Police involved in the stand-off with Moat fired two Taser stun guns at him, the Independent Police Complaints Commission reveals. Northumbria Police Temporary Chief Constable Sue Sim later says: “officers discharged Taser” while “striving to persuade Moat to give himself up peacefully”.
July 13, 2020
- Inquest into Moat death opens and adjourns. Newcastle coroner David Mitford said Moat died as a result of a gunshot wound to the head.
March 15, 2011
- Karl Ness and Qhuram Awan are found guilty of the attempted murder of PC David Rathband, conspiracy to murder and robbery. Ness was also convicted of Chris Brown’s murder.
June 14, 2011
- Scott Raisbeck is jailed for 15 months after admitting removing the van Moat used when he injured Samantha Stobbart and killed Chris Brown, and hiding some items from it.
September 5, 2011
- Inquest into Raoul Moat’s death resumes at Newcastle Crown Court.
27 September, 2011
- A jury returns a verdict of suicide at the conclusion of the three-week inquest.
When is Manhunt: The Raoul Moat story on?
The hour-long Manhunt documentary will air on ITV on Thursday, July 9 at 9pm.
It explores the consequences for those caught up in the violent and tragic events to provide a vivid insight into Moat’s mindset, and to get the inside track on how he was finally found.
Speaking about the programme, Executive Producer for MultiStory Media, Mike Blair says: “This documentary is the latest in a line of programmes to come out of our base in Cardiff and thanks to the experience and skill of the team there, it will provide a revealing and sensitive insight into a manhunt which gripped the nation – but which had a tragic backstory.”
What happened to PC David Rathband?
Moat apparently targeted Rathband randomly, simply for being a police officer, although on an earlier occasion Rathband had confiscated Moat’s van on the suspicion that it was not insured.
PC David Rathband became permanently blind after being shot by Moat, and admitted to feeling “vulnerable” with the disability.
Nevertheless, he threw himself into charity work, and in 2010, he channelled the attention he received in the wake of the shooting to set up a charity, the Blue Lamp Foundation, to provide support to members of the emergency services injured in the line of duty.
The same year, he won the emergency services section of the Pride of Britain awards, in recognition of his courage in dealing with his injuries.
However, in 2012 just months after announcing that he has his wife were separating, Rathband was found dead in his home.
A coroner ruled that he had killed himself because he couldn’t cope with his new disability and a breakdown in his marriage.
The coroner, Eric Armstrong, said little could have been done to prevent PC David Rathband’s death.
“Many people may look back, police officers and others, and with the benefit of hindsight, form the view that they wish they could have done something else,” he said. “Could I implore them not to carry that out? Decisions were taken which at the time seemed appropriate and were justified at the time.”
Manhunt: The Raoul Moat Story airs on July 9th at 9pm, ITV. To see what else is on, have a look at our TV Guide.