Expert: Taser no part in Raoul Moat death

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The Independent Online

An unauthorised Taser weapon fired by police at cornered killer Raoul Moat did not cause him to accidentally blast himself in the head, an inquest heard today.

Dr Ian Schofield, a consultant neurophysiologist with expertise in how electric currents affect the nervous system, said even if an electrical discharge went through Moat, it would not have made him act involuntarily.

Moat was hit by an XREP projectile fired from a shotgun which was intended to incapacitate him before he committed suicide.

His family fear the round may have caused him to inadvertently clench his fingers and pull the trigger.

The ex-doorman was sitting in Rothbury, Northumberland, with a sawn-off shotgun pointing at his temple when the Taser hit him.

Moments later he fired, blowing a hole straight through his brain.

The jury has heard although the XREP hit his arm, it did not pierce the skin, and any electric shock was localised, if it happened at all. Dr Schofield produced a report for the coroner with the summary: "Mr Moat was struck by an XREP projectile on the left forearm. There is no definitive evidence to suggest that electrical discharge of any type was felt by Mr Moat.

"In the event that electrical discharge did occur, in my opinion, this would only precipitate an action for which there was a pre-existing, conscious intent."

Dr Schofield said Moat may have been startled by the impact of the Taser round, but any response to the shock would have happened within two tenths of a second.

The jury has heard several witnesses say Moat shouted "Ow" after being struck by the Taser, rocked backwards then forwards before pulling the trigger.

The X12 shotguns were licensed only for testing but were used on the night in July 2010 as regular hand-held Tasers could not hit Moat from 10m away as their range was too short.

Coroner David Mitford adjourned the hearing until Monday when he will sum up the evidence.