Belfast Telegraph

Sunday 21 September 2014

Men deny Raoul Moat case murder bid

Two men have denied attempting to murder Pc David Rathband

Two men accused of helping gunman Raoul Moat have denied attempting to murder Pc David Rathband, who was shot and blinded by the former bouncer.

Flanked by two security guards, Karl Ness, 26, and Qhuram Awan, 23, entered not guilty pleas to a series of charges at Newcastle Crown Court.

Ness denied a charge of murdering Chris Brown, who was the only person killed by Moat, attempting to murder Pc Rathband, two charges of conspiracy to murder, one charge of possession of a firearm with intent to endanger life and one of robbing a fish shop.

Awan denied the attempted murder of Pc Rathband, one charge of conspiracy to murder, one charge of possession of a firearm with intent to endanger life and one of robbing a fish shop.

The men spoke only to enter their pleas during the brief hearing before Mr Justice McCombe.

As each charge was put, Ness, of Brookside, Dudley, North Tyneside, answered: "Not guilty."

Awan, of Rowley Street, Blyth, North Tyneside, answered: "Not guilty, my lord."

The pair, whom police initially feared were being held hostage by Moat, are alleged to have been with Moat when he shot Mr Brown dead and wounded Samantha Stobbart at her home in Birtley, near Chester-le-Street.

Moat, 37, died after a six-hour stand-off on the banks of the River Coquet, in Rothbury, Northumberland, in July.

Awan and Ness are both being held on remand. They face trial later this month.

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