Gun attack on policeman linked to double shooting

Detectives today linked an "unprovoked" gun attack on a police officer to a double shooting which claimed the life of a man and left his partner critically injured.

Police yesterday launched a manhunt for Raoul Thomas Moat, who was released from prison on Thursday and is understood to be the former partner of the injured woman, named locally as Samantha Stobbart.

Detectives yesterday suggested the first attack was motivated by a grudge against the couple, but now believe it is with the police.

The pair, who have not been officially named, were targeted in the early hours of yesterday morning, at around 2.40am, when the gunman fired a shot through Miss Stobbart's living room window.

Moments later her partner left the house, only to be struck down around 50 metres from the front door.

Less than 24 hours later, a man detectives identified as Moat was linked to another shooting in which a policeman was seriously injured.

The uniformed motor patrol officer was blasted as he was carrying out a "static patrol" on a roundabout joining the A1 and A69 in East Denton, Newcastle, at around 12.45am.

He is currently being treated in Newcastle General Hospital where his condition is described as "serious" but is not thought to be life-threatening.

Temporary Chief Constable Sue Sim said: "This was an unprovoked attack on a Northumbria police officer as he carried out his duty.

"My thoughts are with his family and colleagues at this time. We strongly believe that this was carried out by the same man who shot two people in Gateshead early yesterday morning.

"Raoul Thomas Moat is a wanted man. He is very dangerous and should not be approached by members of the public.

"We know that Moat held a grudge against the people he targeted in Gateshead yesterday.

"It is now believed that his grudge at the moment is with the police."

Detectives said they were pursuing several lines of inquiry and all available resources and tactics were being used.

Moat, 37, from Newcastle, had just been released from Durham prison after serving a sentence for assault. He is believed to be a former nightclub bouncer.

Meanwhile Miss Stobbart's half-sister Kelly Stobbart told the News of the World that family members were warned she may not survive.

"We don't think she'll make it," the 27-year-old said. "She's been shot in the chest and stomach, her body's been ripped apart.

"She is on a life-support machine and is critical. The hospital have told us to expect the worst."

Her relatives told The Sunday Telegraph the 22-year-old had been in an on-off relationship with Moat for six years.

They said the trainee hairdresser, who has a three-year-old daughter Chanel, was shot twice.

She is now in a critical condition in hospital where she was said to be under armed police guard.

Yesterday, one eye-witness told how she watched the gunman open fire.

Mary Hall, 63, a neighbour living close to the scene, said: "The man shot through the window and shot the girl. I saw a figure of a man with a handgun."

She told the Northern Echo: "It's all very shocking as there are a lot of old age pensioners around here and you don't expect this to happen."

Mrs Hall said a woman in the house was screaming, apparently on the phone to the police. She believed this was the woman's mother.

Another local resident, who did not wish to be named, said: "I didn't see it happen but I heard a few loud bangs that must have been gun shots.

"There was a police helicopter hovering around for a long time.

"It's a really quiet area, it's residential you know, so it's a total shock."

Emergency services called to property discovered the man, understood to be Miss Stobbart's current partner, lying on a grassy area opposite the house in Scafell, Birtley, near Gateshead.

He is believed to have been in his late 20s or early 30s. He was pronounced dead at the scene.

Det Supt Steve Howes, who is leading the investigation, said of yesterday's shootings: "I would like to stress that this is not a random attack and that the people involved are all known to each other."

A large number of officers, including specialist firearms officers, were working on the case.

The man's precise cause of death has yet to be established but police said the couple suffered injuries "believed to be consistent with a gunshot wound".

A post-mortem examination on the dead man was taking place.

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
News
Bobbi Kristina Brown with her mother Whitney Houston in 2011
people
News
The actress Geraldine McEwan was perhaps best known for playing Agatha Christie's detective, Miss Marple (Rex)
peopleShe won a Bafta in 1991 for her role in Oranges Are Not The Only Fruit
News
The guide, since withdrawn, used illustrations and text to help people understand the court process (Getty)
Ministry of Justice gets law 'terribly wrong' in its guide to courts
News
Starting the day with a three-egg omelette could make people more charitable, according to new research
scienceFeed someone a big omelette, and they may give twice as much, thanks to a compound in the eggs
ebooks
ebooksA special investigation by Andy McSmith
News
newsPatrick Cockburn was able to update his agenda-setting 'The Rise of Islamic State' while under attack in Baghdad
News
Robert Fraser, aka Groovy Bob
peopleA new show honours Robert Fraser, one of the era's forgotten players
Life and Style
Torsten Sherwood's Noook is a simple construction toy for creating mini-architecture
tech
News
Top Gun actor Val Kilmer lost his small claims court battle in Van Nuys with the landlord of his Malibu mansion to get back his deposit after wallpapering over the kitchen cabinets
people
Sport
David Silva celebrates with Sergio Aguero after equalising against Chelsea
footballChelsea 1 Manchester City 1
News
i100
News
peopleHere's what Stephen Fry would say
Arts and Entertainment
tv
News
Richard Dawkins is known for his outspoken views
people
Life and Style
L’Auberge du pont de Collonges (AFP)
food + drinkFury at British best restaurants survey sees French magazine produce a rival list
Arts and Entertainment
Bourne's New Adventures dance company worked with 27 young Londoners to devise a curtain-raiser staged before New Adventures' performance of Edward Scissorhands
theatreStar choreographer Matthew Bourne gives young carers a chance to perform at Sadler's Wells
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

Day In a Page

As in 1942, Germany must show restraint over Greece

As in 1942, Germany must show restraint over Greece

Mussolini tried to warn his ally of the danger of bringing the country to its knees. So should we, says Patrick Cockburn
Britain's widening poverty gap should be causing outrage at the start of the election campaign

The short stroll that should be our walk of shame

Courting the global elite has failed to benefit Britain, as the vast disparity in wealth on display in the capital shows
Homeless Veterans appeal: The rise of the working poor: when having a job cannot prevent poverty

Homeless Veterans appeal

The rise of the working poor: when having a job cannot prevent poverty
Prince Charles the saviour of the nation? A new book highlights concerns about how political he will be when he eventually becomes king

Prince Charles the saviour of the nation?

A new book highlights concerns about how political he will be when he eventually becomes king
How books can defeat Isis: Patrick Cockburn was able to update his agenda-setting 'The Rise of Islamic State' while under attack in Baghdad

How books can defeat Isis

Patrick Cockburn was able to update his agenda-setting 'The Rise of Islamic State' while under attack in Baghdad
Judith Hackitt: The myths of elf 'n' safety

Judith Hackitt: The myths of elf 'n' safety

She may be in charge of minimising our risks of injury, but the chair of the Health and Safety Executive still wants children to be able to hurt themselves
The open loathing between Barack Obama and Benjamin Netanyahu just got worse

The open loathing between Obama and Netanyahu just got worse

The Israeli PM's relationship with the Obama has always been chilly, but going over the President's head on Iran will do him no favours, says Rupert Cornwell
French chefs get 'le huff' as nation slips down global cuisine rankings

French chefs get 'le huff' as nation slips down global cuisine rankings

Fury at British best restaurants survey sees French magazine produce a rival list
Star choreographer Matthew Bourne gives young carers a chance to perform at Sadler's Wells

Young carers to make dance debut

What happened when superstar choreographer Matthew Bourne encouraged 27 teenage carers to think about themselves for once?
Design Council's 70th anniversary: Four of the most intriguing prototypes from Ones to Watch

Design Council's 70th anniversary

Four of the most intriguing prototypes from Ones to Watch
Dame Harriet Walter: The actress on learning what it is to age, plastic surgery, and her unease at being honoured by the establishment

Dame Harriet Walter interview

The actress on learning what it is to age, plastic surgery, and her unease at being honoured by the establishment
Art should not be a slave to the ideas driving it

Art should not be a slave to the ideas driving it

Critics of Tom Stoppard's new play seem to agree that cerebral can never trump character, says DJ Taylor
Bill Granger recipes: Our chef's winter salads will make you feel energised through February

Bill Granger's winter salads

Salads aren't just a bit on the side, says our chef - their crunch, colour and natural goodness are perfect for a midwinter pick-me-up
England vs Wales: Cool head George Ford ready to put out dragon fire

George Ford: Cool head ready to put out dragon fire

No 10’s calmness under pressure will be key for England in Cardiff
Michael Calvin: Time for Old Firm to put aside bigotry and forge new links

Michael Calvin's Last Word

Time for Old Firm to put aside bigotry and forge new links