Raoul Moat's former girlfriend talks about shooting

The former girlfriend of killer Raoul Moat described today the "five minutes of hell" as he blasted her and her new boyfriend with a shotgun.

Sam Stobbart, 22, said her decision to use her arm as a shield when Moat, 37, opened fire, probably saved her life.

Fighting back the tears she said: "Somehow the arm ended up in front of me as a block and the doctors have said to me if the arm wasn't there then I would have died.

"It was actually the arm that saved me because it took all the pressure and the force."

Describing the moment when Moat fired at her new partner karate instructor Chris Brown, 29, she told the News of the World: "Raoul jumped out from under the window, actually I shouted at Chris, and that's when Raoul shot Chris."

Her comments come after it was reported that the officers hunting for Moat were "excited" by the arrival of new Tasers just hours before they entered a stand-off with the fugitive gunman.

Witnesses described seeing the weapons being handed out to officers who they said then practised firing them at rubbish sacks.

Moat died after shooting himself in the early hours of last Saturday morning at the end of a six-hour stand-off in the village of Rothbury, Northumberland.

It followed a week-long manhunt for the steroid-abusing father-of-three, who killed Brown, wounded Ms Stobbart and shot Pc David Rathband, 42.

Moat went on the rampage after she said she had left him for another man.

She watched as he shot her new boyfriend outside a friend's house in Birtley, near Gateshead, before turning his gun on her.

She said the gunman struggled to reload his weapon, giving her a few vital seconds to flee back inside the house.

"There was nothing I could do against a madman with a gun, I had to get back to the house to make sure my baby daughter Chanel was safe," she said.

Moat then fired at the hairdresser through a window, hitting her in the stomach.

She said: "I looked out of the bay window and on to the green outside and I could see Chris in his yellow T-shirt slumped on the floor. I knew he had gone, I knew he was dead. I couldn't see Raoul, but I wasn't looking for him - I was staring at Chris.

"I saw the sparks flying off Raoul's gun as he shot me. Then I was on the floor with blood pumping out everywhere."

Speaking to the newspaper from her hospital bed, Ms Stobbart admitted she lied by telling Moat while he was in prison that her new boyfriend was a policeman in a bid to make him stay away from her.

But she insisted the gunman knew that Mr Brown was a karate instructor when he shot him a few weeks later.

She said: "Chris was happy with me telling Raoul that he was a policeman. He thought it would get him off my back. But on the night of the shooting Raoul phoned me to say he'd learned everything about Chris. He said, 'I know he isn't a cop. I know he does karate, he's an instructor'."

Ms Stobbart revealed Moat sent her a "get well" card in hospital while he was on the run.

Inside the gunman wrote: "No joke intended. Get well soon, Raoul."

She said: "The card was sick but that is just the sort of thing he would do. He would want me to feel he was watching me."

The newspaper also published a letter addressed to her and left in a tent found by police near Rothbury in which Moat said he was a "dead man walking".

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

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".

Workers on an industrial estate where police officers set up their Moat operation base said they saw boxes of Tasers arriving in a van at 11am on Friday last week.

Jason Potts told Sky News: "They came in a plain cardboard box, a brown cardboard box, and in that there was three other boxes."

Asked what the officers said when they saw the delivery, he replied: "'We've been waiting for these for a while, we're getting them now, what a coincidence.'

"They all seemed excited for them, you know."

Mr Potts said police fired training rounds into rubbish bags before returning to the van to sign forms.

"Eventually the van went away and they were all left with these guns," he added.

Moat was spotted at 7.25pm on Friday July 9 in the Riverside park area of Rothbury.

Armed police and negotiators stayed at the scene until Moat's gun went off at 1.12am the following morning.

He was formally declared dead in hospital at 2.22am.

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 ongoing.

West Yorkshire Police said it was also unable to comment due to the investigation.