Belfast Telegraph

Thursday 17 April 2014

Villagers slam Moat ashes ceremony

People in Rothbury are furious over claims killer Raoul Moat's ashes were spread in the village

Residents of Rothbury, where murderer Raoul Moat ended his life, have reacted with fury after it emerged his ashes were scattered close to the Northumberland town.

His family said the remains were put in the River Coquet a few miles outside Rothbury, 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 on Tuesday 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." The urn was no longer at the riverside spot on Tuesday night.

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

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."

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 shot his former girlfriend Samantha Stobbart, 22, at a house in Birtley, Gateshead, on July 3. 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.

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