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Taser fired in Moat death stand-off

Police involved in a stand-off with gunman Raoul Moat fired a Taser stun gun at him, said the Independent Police Complaints Commission (IPCC).

IPCC Commissioner Nicholas Long said early indications showed that police officers did not fire gunshots but did discharge a taser during the tense siege between officers and the former nightclub doorman.

Moat, 37, blasted himself in the head after being surrounded by armed police in the early hours of Sunday morning.

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 stand off ended when police surrounded Moat and jumped on him.

Mr Long said: "Early indications show that gunshots were not fired by police officers and this will of course form part of the IPCC independent investigation. It is also understood that a police officer discharged a Taser and our investigation will also look at this.

"The IPCC has now two independent investigations. The first relates to the intelligence from the prison authorities on Mr Moat's release and the second his death. I have decided that there will be one investigation covering both these aspects.

"We will be examining whether correct procedures were followed by Northumbria Police and the detail of how this incident came to a conclusion.

"A full investigation will now be carried out and we will publish our findings in due course so that there is a public account answering the many questions that people will have."

Mr Long, who also sent his sympathies to the people affected by the events of the last week, said that the IPCC launched their investigations after they were contacted by Northumbria Police at 4am on Sunday morning.

Moat's death early today followed a manhunt that lasted almost a week after Moat's ex-girlfriend Sam Stobbart was shot and injured, her boyfriend Chris Brown was shot dead and Pc David Rathband was shot in his patrol car.

Police finally caught up with the fugitive last night on a riverbank in Rothbury, Northumbria, and he was surrounded by armed officers.

Expert negotiators tried to persuade the former nightclub bouncer to surrender but a shot rang out at 1.15am and he was pronounced dead in hospital an hour later.

Moat's death was reported to the Independent Police Complaints Commission (IPCC) which said in a statement it would be looking at the firing of the Taser as part of its investigation.

Ms Sim's confirmation that a Taser was discharged came at a news conference in Rothbury just minutes later.

She said Moat was armed when he was discovered by police around 7pm yesterday and negotiators were brought in.

"At around 1.15am, from information available at the moment, it appears the suspect shot himself. It appears no gunshots were fired by police officers," she said.

"Right up until that time, police officers were striving to persuade Mr Moat to give himself up peacefully. During this time, officers discharged Taser, however, this did not prevent his death.

"At around 2.20am he was pronounced dead at hospital."

Ms Sim refused to take any questions after she read the prepared statement or to elaborate about at what point the Taser was discharged.

IPCC Commissioner Nicholas Long said: "Early indications show that gunshots were not fired by police officers and this will of course form part of the IPCC independent investigation.

"It is also understood that a police officer did discharge a Taser and our investigation will also look at this."

The independent police watchdog is already investigating whether Northumbria Police took adequate action following a warning on Friday from Durham Prison.

Moat was released from the prison on Thursday and staff there told the force he might intend to cause serious harm to Miss Stobbart.

Mr Long said: "The IPCC has now two independent investigations. The first relates to the intelligence from the prison authorities on Mr Moat's release and the second to his death. I have decided that there will be one investigation covering both these aspects.

"We will be examining whether correct procedures were followed by Northumbria Police and the detail of how this incident came to a conclusion.

"A full investigation will now be carried out and we will publish our findings in due course so that there is a public account answering the many questions that people will have."

People in Rothbury were warned to stay indoors for their own safety last night as officers 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 and the 17-stone steroid addict shot himself.

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

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."

He was taken by ambulance to Newcastle General Hospital and was seen being carried in with a blanket covering his head.

His death brought to an end a huge manhunt involving police officers from 15 forces, Scotland Yard sharpshooters and armoured 4x4 cars.

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

Much of the search focused on countryside surrounding Rothbury but when officers finally caught up with Moat it was on a riverbank close to the centre of the village.

Detective Chief Superintendent Neil Adamson, who led the hunt, said the intelligence he had received since two men were arrested on Tuesday "always led me to believe that Moat was in and around the Rothbury area, constantly on the move".

Mr Adamson appeared to be pre-empting any criticism of his inquiry when he said the hunt was frustrated by assistance given to Moat by third parties and by a potential kidnap situation after a letter from Moat claimed he had taken two hostages.

Mr Adamson said: "I have had to assess the impact, relevance and potential risk of all information available to me and carefully consider what I could release and when."

Moat confessed to killing Mr Brown, a karate instructor, and to shooting Miss Stobbart and Pc Rathband 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.

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 warning came during a four-hour message left on a voice recorder inside his tent on land outside Rothbury.

Karl Ness and Qhuram Awan, who were originally thought to be Moat's hostages, were found wandering along a country lane near the village on Tuesday.

Both men were remanded in custody when they appeared in court on Thursday charged with conspiracy to commit murder and possessing a firearm with intent.

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