Moat's henchmen convicted of conspiracy to murder

Shotgun killer Raoul Moat's two henchmen were facing long jail sentences tonight for their roles in his murderous rampage.

Karl Ness and Qhuram Awan were convicted of conspiring with Moat before, during and after he shot three people, killing one and seriously injuring the others.



After witnessing their convictions, Pc David Rathband, who lost his eyesight when he was shot in the face by Moat, said: "I have a lifetime to live and they have a lifetime to reflect.



"I am sure I am in a better place than them."



The defendants claimed they were forced at gunpoint to help the 37-year-old ex-doorman who shot his girlfriend Samantha Stobbart, murdered her new lover Chris Brown, 29, then declared war on the police.



They said they were held hostage by Moat, but the jury at Newcastle Crown Court unanimously convicted Ness of murdering Mr Brown and a firearms offence. Both men were convicted of conspiracy to murder, attempted murder and robbery.



The defendants, who had been stood up, collapsed in their seats while relatives of the victims in the public gallery cried "Yes" when the verdicts were returned.



Pc Rathband hugged his sobbing wife Kath, while Mr Brown's mother Sally gripped the hand of her daughter Beckie Njie as they broke down.



Dramatic footage was released at the conclusion of the five-week trial showing how the police arrested the men in Rothbury, Northumberland, where they had been in hiding with Moat.



Armed officers threw stun grenades and piled onto the men, but Moat remained at large for a further four days before he killed himself after being cornered.



Both men had spurned the chance, while on shopping trips, to tip-off the police about Moat's whereabouts.



Ness, 26, from Dudley, North Tyneside, was with steroid addict Moat on the night he calmly killed Mr Brown, a karate instructor.



He had helped Moat find out information about Mr Brown using the internet.



While serving a prison term for assaulting a child, Moat had ordered Ness to spy on Miss Stobbart to catch her with a new man.



Part-time mechanic and doorman Awan, 23, of Blyth, Northumberland, helped the pair afterwards by driving a getaway car to a woodland hideout.



The next day self-confessed "petrol-head" Awan drove Moat in his modified black Lexus to the junction of the A1 and A69 where Pc Rathband was shot.



The pair were there when the fugitive robbed a Northumberland chip shop and helped set up his campsite in a farmer's field.



Burly 6ft 4in Moat went on his rampage after he was released from Durham Prison.



He was obsessed by the fact that Miss Stobbart was seeing someone new and was hell-bent on revenge.



Miss Stobbart, a trainee hairdresser from Birtley, Gateshead, had told Moat her new boyfriend, Mr Brown, was a policeman.



But instead of scaring Moat off, the lie made him even more furious.



He rang police before shooting Pc Rathband to say: "Youse have hassled us, harassed us, youse just won't leave us alone."



He added: "Youse wanted me to kill myself but I'm gonna give youse a chance cos I'm hunting for officers now, right?"



Kingsley Hyland, a senior CPS lawyer, said outside court: "It was the Crown's case that Karl Ness and Qhuram Awan, at different times, willingly engaged with Moat in full knowledge of what his intentions were.



"The jury have accepted that. Ness and Awan will now have a considerable time to reflect upon the consequences of allying themselves to Moat and his murderous intentions."



Outside court, Mr Brown's sister Ms Njie said: "He is missed hugely by all who knew him.



"We have been left devastated by this loss. Our lives have changed for ever.



"Today's guilty verdict has come as a great relief to us."



Detective Superintendent Jim Napier said: "Both Ness and Awan have, in my view, acted in a cowardly manner.



"They had opportunities to alert others to their plight if they had been held against their will - which clearly they were not."



Mr Justice McCombe, who will sentence on Tuesday, said: "A lot of people have been seriously affected by this case."

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
ebooks
ebooksAn introduction to the ground rules of British democracy
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
SPONSORED FEATURES
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Personal Tax Senior

£28000 - £37000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is an opportunity to join ...

Recruitment Genius: Customer and Markets Development Executive

£22000 - £29000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This company's mission is to ma...

Recruitment Genius: Guest Services Assistant

£13832 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This 5 star leisure destination on the w...

Recruitment Genius: Sales Account Manager

£20000 - £32000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A Sales Account Manager is requ...

Day In a Page

A nap a day could save your life - and here's why

A nap a day could save your life

A midday nap is 'associated with reduced blood pressure'
If men are so obsessed by sex, why do they clam up when confronted with the grisly realities?

If men are so obsessed by sex...

...why do they clam up when confronted with the grisly realities?
The comedy titans of Avalon on their attempt to save BBC3

Jon Thoday and Richard Allen-Turner

The comedy titans of Avalon on their attempt to save BBC3
The bathing machine is back... but with a difference

Rolling in the deep

The bathing machine is back but with a difference
Part-privatised tests, new age limits, driverless cars: Tories plot motoring revolution

Conservatives plot a motoring revolution

Draft report reveals biggest reform to regulations since driving test introduced in 1935
The Silk Roads that trace civilisation: Long before the West rose to power, Asian pathways were connecting peoples and places

The Silk Roads that trace civilisation

Long before the West rose to power, Asian pathways were connecting peoples and places
House of Lords: Outcry as donors, fixers and MPs caught up in expenses scandal are ennobled

The honours that shame Britain

Outcry as donors, fixers and MPs caught up in expenses scandal are ennobled
When it comes to street harassment, we need to talk about race

'When it comes to street harassment, we need to talk about race'

Why are black men living the stereotypes and why are we letting them get away with it?
International Tap Festival: Forget Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers - this dancing is improvised, spontaneous and rhythmic

International Tap Festival comes to the UK

Forget Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers - this dancing is improvised, spontaneous and rhythmic
War with Isis: Is Turkey's buffer zone in Syria a matter of self-defence – or just anti-Kurd?

Turkey's buffer zone in Syria: self-defence – or just anti-Kurd?

Ankara accused of exacerbating racial division by allowing Turkmen minority to cross the border
Doris Lessing: Acclaimed novelist was kept under MI5 observation for 18 years, newly released papers show

'A subversive brothel keeper and Communist'

Acclaimed novelist Doris Lessing was kept under MI5 observation for 18 years, newly released papers show
Big Blue Live: BBC's Springwatch offshoot swaps back gardens for California's Monterey Bay

BBC heads to the Californian coast

The Big Blue Live crew is preparing for the first of three episodes on Sunday night, filming from boats, planes and an aquarium studio
Austin Bidwell: The Victorian fraudster who shook the Bank of England with the most daring forgery the world had known

Victorian fraudster who shook the Bank of England

Conman Austin Bidwell. was a heartless cad who carried out the most daring forgery the world had known
Car hacking scandal: Security designed to stop thieves hot-wiring almost every modern motor has been cracked

Car hacking scandal

Security designed to stop thieves hot-wiring almost every modern motor has been cracked
10 best placemats

Take your seat: 10 best placemats

Protect your table and dine in style with a bold new accessory