Hundreds turn out for Raoul Moat service

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The Independent Online

more than 150 people attended the funeral of Raoul Moat yesterday, from members of the gunman's close family to complete strangers.

The mourners gathered outside the West Road Crematorium, less than a mile from Moat's former home in Newcastle. "Behind Blues Eyes" by The Who was played as pall-bearers carried the coffin from the hearse.

Floral tributes included the word "Dad" written in white carnations. One bouquet from Moat's brother had a card which read: "Raoul, this didn't have to end like this. Sleep tight bruv, until later, Angus." Another read: "You were always on my mind, you were always on my mind, love D."

Family members attended a 20-minute ceremony after which Moat was cremated – a decision taken by the family who worried a grave would become a shrine for those who share his hatred of the police.

Moat's former neighbour, Brian Johnson, 27, said: "He was no hero. He was messed up. He had problems. I came to pay my last respects. What he did was wrong but he was still liked by a lot of people."

Many of the mourners admitted they had never met Moat. Theresa Bystram, 45, travelled from Weybridge, Surrey, on an overnight bus with three of her teenage sons.

Video: Gunman Raoul Moat's funeral

Dressed in a Chelsea FC shirt, she admitted not knowing the former bouncer, but added: "I absolutely loved him. I just think he is a hero and I wanted to pay my respects. He kept them coppers on the run all that time. Fair enough people died but they must have deserved it."