Four more held in Raoul Moat inquiry

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The Independent Online

Four more people were arrested today on suspicion of helping fugitive gunman Raoul Moat, bringing the total to 20, Northumbria Police said.

A second post-mortem examination on the killer's body will be held at the request of his brother, Angus, a police source said, with reports saying it will be held tomorrow.

Bouncer Moat, 37, from Newcastle, shot his ex-lover, killed her new boyfriend and blasted an unarmed policeman, then went on the run for a week before shooting himself in Rothbury, Northumberland.

A Northumbria Police spokesman said two men and two women were arrested on suspicion of assisting an offender.

A man and a woman were arrested in Blyth, Northumberland, and a man and a woman in Newcastle.

"This brings to 20 the total number of people arrested in connection with this case," the spokesman said.

Two of them have been charged with conspiracy to murder and will appear before Newcastle Crown Court on Thursday.

Moat's uncle, former soldier Charlie Alexander, 72, said he did not know when the second post-mortem examination would take place.

He said: "We've not been told when it will take place but it could be tomorrow.

"The coroner's officer said they wanted it done as soon as possible so we can get on and arrange for the funeral.

"After the first post-mortem we were not even allowed to touch the body in case it interfered with the results of the second.

"We are hoping not to make a big deal of Raoul's funeral but we can't do anything about people finding out and turning up. He had a lot of friends."

Mr Alexander said Moat's brother, Angus, 39, had gone on holiday with friends.

"He just needed to get away from it all so they've taken him away."

Moat died after shooting himself in the early hours of July 10 at the end of a six-hour stand-off by the River Coquet in Rothbury.

It followed a week-long manhunt for the steroid-abusing father-of-three, who killed karate instructor Chris Brown, wounded Sam Stobbart and shot Pc David Rathband, 42, in the face, leaving him blind.

Moat went on the rampage after Ms Stobbart, of Birtley, Gateshead, told him their relationship was over.

Last week, the opening of the inquest into Moat's death heard that two Tasers were fired at him around the same time as the fatal shot.

The first post mortem apparently found no marks consistent with a Taser injury, it was revealed.

Two firearms officers from West Yorkshire Police fired XRep Tasers, which were not approved by the Home Office, it emerged outside the hearing.

The weapon, which is fired from a 12-gauge shotgun, is being tested by the Home Office before being approved for use by police forces in England and Wales.

But the Home Office stressed police could use any weapon they saw fit as long as its use was "lawful, reasonable and proportionate".

The matter was referred to the Independent Police Complaints Commission by Northumbria Police.

The force said it would be "inappropriate to comment" on the Tasers while the IPCC investigation was continuing.

West Yorkshire Police said they were also unable to comment due to the investigation.

Northumbria Police said a man held yesterday on suspicion of firearms offences was continuing to help with inquiries.

The four arrested this morning were also being questioned.

As well as the two men who have been charged with conspiracy to murder - Karl Ness, 26, from Dudley, North Tyneside, and Qhuram Awan, 23, from Blyth - a further 13 people have been released on bail pending further inquiries.