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Pair in court charged with Raoul Moat aid

Alleged accomplices of fugitive gunman Raoul Moat are due to appear in court charged with conspiracy to murder.

Karl Ness, 26, and Qhuram Awan, 23, are accused of helping the ex-bouncer to hunt down and kill police officers.

They are due at Newcastle Crown Court, where they also face a charge of possessing a firearm with intent.

It was alleged they were with Moat when he blasted his ex-lover, Samantha Stobbart, in Birtley, Gateshead, and shot her new boyfriend, Chris Brown, dead.

The pair are accused of obtaining a sawn-off shotgun for Moat before he was released from prison, and providing supplies while he was on the run for a week.

Moat hid in Rothbury, Northumberland, for a week before he died following a stand-off with police by the River Coquet.

Ness, of Dudley, North Tyneside, and Awan, of Blyth, Northumberland, were arrested in the small town four days before Britain's most wanted man was discovered.

No pleas were entered when they appeared at Newcastle Magistrates' Court a fortnight ago, but solicitors indicated they would deny the charges.

District Judge Stephen Erl remanded them in custody until their Crown Court hearing.

Meanwhile, Pc David Rathband, who was left blind after Moat shot him in his patrol car, has returned home to his family. He told The Sun: "It's going to be very difficult and I'm devastated. But I'm not going to dwell on it."

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