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Fugitve gunman Raoul Moat kills himself in police stand-off

A six-hour stand-off involving Britain's most wanted man ended today when fugitive gunman Raoul Moat killed himself.

The 37-year-old shot himself in the head after being surrounded by armed police.

It followed a tense six-hour stand-off sparked when he was spotted on the riverbank in Rothbury, Northumbria.

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

A single gunshot was heard before the stricken fugitive, who has evaded a frantic hunt for a week, was taken by ambulance to Newcastle General Hospital.

On arrival he was seen being taken from the ambulance on a stretcher with a blanket covering his head.

It is believed he was pronounced dead on arrival.

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."

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

An RAF Tornado was also deplored to utilise wartime technology in a bid to find the gunman.

The drama began at around 7.20pm yesterday when police responded to reports Moat was on the riverside.

Officers warned people to stay indoors for their own safety as they 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. The 17-stone steroid addict shot himself.

Chief Superintendent Mark Dennett of Northumbria Police said: "Police discovered a man fitting the description of Raoul Thomas Moat at around 7pm near the riverbank in the vicinity of Rothbury.

"When he was discovered he was armed. Expert negotiators were brought in to speak to him and spoke to him extensively for several hours."

The father of three went on the run a week ago after blasting his ex-girlfriend and killing her new lover.

Karate instructor Chris Brown, 29, was gunned down in the Scafell area of Birtley, Gateshead.

The fatal shooting, in which 22-year-old Miss Stobbart received critical injuries, sparked a manhunt as Moat declared "war" on police.

Pc David Rathband, 42, was shot early on Sunday in an "unprovoked attack" while sitting in a patrol car in East Denton, Newcastle.

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. He holds a series of grudges against the police and was only released from a short spell in prison on July 1.

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

Police asked 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 focus of the hunt turned to the small town of Rothbury - 30 miles north of Newcastle - on Tuesday after a car linked to Moat was found abandoned.

Police have been stationed outside schools and people who live in the area warned to keep windows and doors locked.

Also on Tuesday Karl Ness and Qhuram Awan - originally thought to be hostages - were found wandering along a country lane. Both have since appeared in court charged with conspiracy to murder.areas warned to keep windows and doors locked.

On Tuesday Karl Ness and Qhuram Awan - originally thought to be hostages - were found wandering along a country lane. Both have since appeared in court charged with conspiracy to murder.

A damaged police dog handler's vehicle was towed away on a breakdown truck as dawn began to break.

Police officers continued to keep a wide cordon around the scene.

Although a steady stream of police vehicles had left Rothbury since the shooting, at least a dozen could be seen parked around the Recreation Club, close to where Moat's final stand took place.

Later Northumbria Police said: "Police can now confirm that Raoul Thomas Moat, 37, of Newcastle, died in hospital early this morning.

"It followed several hours of negotiations between Moat and police but at around 1.15am it appears, from information available, Moat shot himself.

"He was taken to hospital but was pronounced dead at around 2.20am.

"No officers or members of the public were injured."

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