Rothbury residents angry over scattering of Raoul Moat ashes

Residents of Rothbury, where murderer Raoul Moat ended his life, were furious today after it emerged his ashes were scattered close to the pretty tourist town.

His family said the remains were put in the River Coquet a few miles outside the Northumberland town, so they could float down in fast-flowing water, past the riverside site where the stand-off with police ended last month.

But Councillor Steven Bridgett said residents told him family members were spotted last night at the exact place where he died and a photograph of his urn at the scene has appeared in the national press.

Mr Bridgett, a Liberal Democrat member of Northumberland County Council, who represents the Rothbury area, said: "I think it is distasteful.

"I find it is very disrespectful towards the residents that live in the village who are trying to continue their daily lives.

"We don't want any more people coming into the village to have a look at the site where Mr Moat died and leaving an urn there is like making a memorial to him."

Last night, the urn was no longer at the riverside spot.

Mr Bridgett said ghoulish visitors have been seen drinking at the site where Moat, who declared war on police after shooting three people, one fatally, killed himself.

"I just cannot understand human nature, the public reaction has been unbelievable," he said.

Ken Branson, 64, who saw Moat moments before armed police swooped on July 9, said: "There will be a lot of people in the village very upset about this."

The former Hull City Council leader, now retired to the village, said: "A number of people have said they don't want any kind of memorial to a murderer."

An elderly woman, who asked not to be named, added: "This is a smack in the face for Rothbury.

"I don't think the family should have been allowed to do this."

Ray Stephenson, a 63-year-old architect, said: "I think it is unfortunate that Rothbury has become associated with something which most people see as very negative.

"The whole episode is best forgotten, but if I do remember it, it's for the amazing performance of the police and the local community."

A source close to the Moat family said his brother Angus, uncle Charlie Alexander and another man were at the private ceremony.

"The ashes were scattered into the river five or six miles upstream from where he died in Rothbury," the source said.

The father-of-three had been released from Durham Prison on July 1 after serving a sentence for assault on a child.

Two days later, he shot his former girlfriend Samantha Stobbart, 22, at a house in Birtley, Gateshead.

Her new boyfriend Chris Brown, 29, was shot and killed when he went outside.

The following night, Pc David Rathband was shot through the window of his car while on patrol in the west of Newcastle.

The 42-year-old father-of-two was blinded in the attack.

Moat taunted police for a week before he was cornered.

Meanwhile, three men, aged 27, 21 and 19, arrested in July on suspicion of assisting an offender, have had their bail extended until November.

Northumbria Police have so far arrested 21 people in connection with the Moat inquiry.

Two men have appeared at Newcastle Crown Court charged with conspiracy to murder and possessing a firearm with intent.

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