A former bouncer suspected of going on a shooting rampage remained on the run yesterday after allegedly wounding his former girlfriend and killing her new boyfriend before randomly turning his gun on a police officer 24 hours later and dialling 999 to accuse detectives of failing to take his "concerns" seriously.
Raoul Moat, 37, called the emergency operator in the early hours of yesterday and claimed that his ex-partner, Samantha Stobbart, had been having an "affair" with a Northumbria police officer.
At around the same time, he approached Pc David Rathbone and apparently shot him at point-blank range through the windscreen of his police car parked on a Tyneside motorway junction, leaving the officer critically injured.
The former doorman and bodybuilder, who had been released from prison on Thursday, continued to evade capture despite a massive 48-hour manhunt which began shortly before 3am on Saturday when Moat allegedly levelled a "shotgun-type weapon" through the living room window of Miss Stobbart's home near Gateshead and began firing.
Her new partner, Chris Brown, 29, a karate instructor from Slough who had recently moved to the Newcastle area to take up a job, was found 50 metres from the house with a fatal gunshot wound to the head. Miss Stobbart, 22, who has a three-year-old daughter from a tempestuous six-year relationship with Moat, was in a critical but stable condition yesterday after being shot in the chest and stomach.
Hours earlier, the father-of-three, who was sentenced to 18 weeks at Durham Prison following a conviction for assault against a family member, had logged on to his Facebook page and hinted darkly at his actions. He wrote: "Just got out of jail. I've lost everything, my business, my property and to top it all off my lass of six years has gone off with someone else. I'm not 21 and I can't rebuild my life. Watch and see what happens."
Northumbria Police deployed every armed officer in the force yesterday and accepted offers of additional manpower from elsewhere in the country as officers scoured the Tyneside area looking the fugitive gunman.
Detective Chief Superintendent Neil Adamson, the officer leading the investigation, revealed that Moat, a computer game fanatic, had contacted police after midnight yesterday and spoke for several minutes to the 999 operator, stating that he believed Ms Stobbart was in a relationship with a Northumbria officer.
Appealing directly to Moat, Mr Adamson told a press conference: "Chris Brown, who was shot and killed yesterday, was not and has never been a Northumbria police officer or in any way connected with Northumbria police. Sam is injured but will live.
"When you contacted police, it was clear that you believed certain things to be true. You have told us that police are not taking you seriously. I want you to know that you have our full attention. Innocent people have been hurt, this must stop now."
Detectives confirmed that they were investigating claims that Moat, described as "jealous and possessive", had previously threatened Ms Stobbart, on one occasion last year turning up armed with a gun at the home of her grandmother where she was staying after a violent argument between the couple.
Friends and relatives said that Moat, whose imposing physique was allegedly achieved with illegal steroids, had regularly subjected Ms Stobbart, a trainee hairdresser, to physical abuse but she had kept returning to him because "she loved his muscles". The pair, who lived in a house bedecked with CCTV cameras by the bouncer, met when Moat was working at Liquid, a nightclub on Newcastle'ss Bigg Market.
Agnes Hornsby, 69, Ms Stobbart's maternal grandmother, said her granddaughter would stay with her at her Gateshead home during rows between the couple. She said: "He threatened us with a gun when she was here, all because she'd put on her Facebook that she was going out with a friend. He was out there for about two hours and she was on the phone trying to calm him down."
Ms Hornsby said that when she threatened to dial 999, Moat replied: "If you phone the police, I'll get some of them before they get me."
Police, who said Moat's grievances were "domestic and relationship-related" and they did not believe he would target civilians randomly in a manner similar to the recent Cumbria shootings, described the suspected killer as "clearly dangerous" and warned members of the public not to approach him.
Kelly Stobbart, 27, Miss Stobbart's half-sister, said: "Nothing is going to stop Raoul. He has gone on a rampage. He is one of those people, if he can't have [Samantha], nobody else can."
In a mesage to Moat, she added: "Either hand yourself in or do the decent thing and kill yourself."
Raoul Moat: No stranger to paranoia and violence
Obsessed with security to the extent that he installed CCTV cameras to film every room in his house and addicted to martial arts computer games, Raoul Moat is no stranger to paranoia and violence.
The 37-year-old father-of-three led a troubled existence, pumping himself with steroids to maintain a bulky 6ft3ins physique which, friends and relatives said, he was prepared to use when a relationship was not going his way.
Amid suggestions that he supplemented his income as a doorman at nightclubs in Newcastle and Sunderland by cage-fighting, Moat closely monitored the entries of his on-off girlfriend Samantha Stobbart on her Facebook page for signs that she was being, as he saw it, unfaithful to him.
Last summer, a note by Ms Stobbart, whose described herself as "blonde, fun, fit and a rite [sic] laugh", that she was going out with a friend who later turned out to be female, prompted the doorman to drive over to the house of her grandmother in his BMW, allegedly with a gun.
Agnes Hornsby, who took in her granddaughter during arguments between the couple, said: "He's got a violent temper. Once he loses his temper his lashes out. Of course Sam was always the nearest one. He split her head open one night. From what she told me, he threw her against a wall and jumped on her stomach."
Police in Newcastle said they were aware of a "significant history" of trouble between the couple. They also confirmed he had been sentenced to 18 weeks' imprisonment in May for assaulting a family member, not Ms Stobbart.
Publicly at least, the doorman was anxious to ensure he maintained a reputation for being level-headed. In 2003, the half-French bodybuilder was accused of threatening council staff over the fitting of safety locks in his flat after a daughter by another relationship fell from an unsecured window. He told Newcastle's 'Evening Chronicle': "In my line of work you lose your job if you're abusive or lash out, so you learn how to control your temper."
More recently, Moat seem to have become withdrawn. Neighbours at his home in the Fenham area of Newcastle said he had fitted his home with an extensive network of CCTV cameras and microphones as well buying a tank of piranhas.
Friends said he was also a obsessive player of computer games featuring armed combat, in particular the 'Street Fighter' series. One man, who said he played regularly with Moat, said: "He always seemed a loyal and trusting friend. But he never let grudges drop."
Moat was said to be troubled by fears that he would no longer be allowed access to his three children. Lana Potts, another friend, wrote on her Facebook page that she thought the doorman would "take 'is own life b4 they get im". Cahal MilmoReuse content