Two Tasers used during Moat stand-off

Two Taser stun guns were discharged during the dramatic stand-off with gunman Raoul Moat, the police watchdog said tonight.

Northumbria Police Temporary Chief Constable Sue Sim earlier confirmed a Taser was fired during tense negotiations with Moat, who was armed when he was cornered on the riverbank in the village of Rothbury last night.

The Independent Police Complaints Commission (IPCC), which is investigating events leading up to Moat's death, today confirmed two Tasers were used by separate officers.

Ms Sim read out a prepared statement this afternoon which said officers tried to persuade Moat to surrender peacefully during the six-hour stand-off.

"During this time officers discharged Taser. However this did not prevent his death," she said during an ambiguous statement which did not specify how many stun guns were fired.

Ms Sim refused to answer any questions so it raised questions over at what stage of the negotiations the Tasers were fired, what prompted their discharge, what effect they had on Moat and whether the use of the Tasers played any part in Moat's decision to pull the trigger on his gun.

Ms Sim said it appeared Moat had shot himself dead and that no gun shots were fired by police.

Moat's death early today followed a manhunt that lasted almost a week after Moat's ex-girlfriend Sam Stobbart was shot and injured, her boyfriend Chris Brown was shot dead and Pc David Rathband was shot in his patrol car.

Police finally caught up with the fugitive last night on a riverbank in Rothbury, Northumbria, and he was surrounded by armed officers.

Expert negotiators tried to persuade the former nightclub bouncer to surrender but a shot rang out at 1.15am and he was pronounced dead in hospital an hour later.

In a statement released through police tonight, Mr Brown's mother Sally Brown said: "I am relieved it's all over with no further injury or loss of life.

"I would ask that I'm now allowed to grieve for my son in private."

Moat's death was reported to the IPCC and a spokesman said it would be looking at the firing of two Tasers as part of its investigation.

IPCC Commissioner Nicholas Long was already investigating whether Northumbria Police took adequate action following a warning from Durham Prison.

Moat was released from the prison on Thursday last week and staff there told the force he might intend to cause serious harm to Miss Stobbart.

Mr Long said: "The IPCC has now two independent investigations.

"I have decided that there will be one investigation covering both these aspects.

"We will be examining whether correct procedures were followed by Northumbria Police and the detail of how this incident came to a conclusion.

"A full investigation will now be carried out and we will publish our findings in due course so that there is a public account answering the many questions that people will have."

Ms Sim said Moat was armed when he was discovered by police around 7pm yesterday and negotiators were brought in.

"At around 1.15am, from information available at the moment, it appears the suspect shot himself. It appears no gunshots were fired by police officers," she said.

"Right up until that time, police officers were striving to persuade Mr Moat to give himself up peacefully.

"At around 2.20am he was pronounced dead at hospital."

People in Rothbury were warned to stay indoors for their own safety last night as officers surrounded the fugitive who witnesses said was lying on the ground with a sawn-off shotgun pointed at his head.

As the siege wore on Moat apparently relaxed and allowed police to bring him food and water.

But at about 1.15am, with heavy rain lashing down, officers apparently attempted to wrestle Moat to the ground and the 17-stone steroid addict shot himself.

One eyewitness told the Press Association the tense siege came to a climax when police surrounded the former nightclub doorman and jumped on him.

Susan Ballantyne, whose house overlooks the scene of the stand-off, said police had crowded around Moat and pounced.

Another witness, who lives near the river bank where Moat was holed-up, said he heard him telling negotiators: "Nobody cares about me."

He was taken by ambulance to Newcastle General Hospital and was seen being carried in with a blanket covering his head.

Miss Stobbart's half brother said he watched the dramatic scenes unfold on live TV.

Lee Burdis, 25, said: "I have been watching the news most of the week, following what's been going on. I didn't actually think he was in Rothbury, I thought it was a decoy.

"Myself and my partner had gone out last night when we got a call telling us to turn the news on, so I watched it all night, until he shot himself.

"I wasn't really bothered which way it turned out to tell the truth, as long as he got caught.

"I am a bit happy it has happened because it was my little sister he tried to kill, but I wanted him to go to jail really.

"I would have liked to see him in court."

Moat's death brought to an end a huge manhunt involving police officers from 15 forces, Scotland Yard sharpshooters, armoured 4x4 cars and an RAF Tornado aircraft.

Much of the search focused on countryside surrounding Rothbury but when officers finally caught up with Moat it was on a riverbank close to the centre of the village.

Detective Chief Superintendent Neil Adamson, who led the hunt, said the intelligence he had received since two men were arrested on Tuesday "always led me to believe that Moat was in and around the Rothbury area, constantly on the move".

Mr Adamson appeared to be pre-empting any criticism of his inquiry when he said the hunt was frustrated by assistance given to Moat by third parties and by a potential kidnap situation after a letter from Moat claimed he had taken two hostages.

Karl Ness and Qhuram Awan, who were originally thought to be Moat's hostages, were found wandering along a country lane near the village on Tuesday.

Both men were remanded in custody when they appeared in court on Thursday charged with conspiracy to commit murder and possessing a firearm with intent.

Moat confessed to killing Mr Brown, a karate instructor, and to shooting Miss Stobbart and Pc Rathband in chilling letters left for officers.

He claimed to be a "killer and a maniac" and pledged to keep shooting police until he died.

Initially it was believed Moat posed a serious risk only to his former girlfriend and police officers.

But on Thursday police warned that Moat had made threats against the wider public.

Police requested a news blackout, asking media to stop reporting aspects of Moat's private life that he may find offensive after he made contact to say that every time there was an inaccurate report he would kill a member of the public.

The warning came during a four-hour message left on a voice recorder inside his tent on land outside Rothbury.

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