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Fans of ‘heroic’ Raoul Moat join family at funeral

Family, friends and strangers paid their respects to crazed gunman Raoul Moat yesterday.

The 20-minute private service at Newcastle's West Road Crematorium attracted a crowd of friends and acquaintances from the killer's years as a doorman.

Steroid addict Moat (37) sparked a huge manhunt last month after shooting his ex-lover Sam Stobbart and killing her new boyfriend, Chris Brown. The next day he blasted unarmed police officer David Rathband in the face, leaving him blind.

The father-of-three hid for a week before he was cornered in Rothbury, Northumberland, where he ended his life following a six-hour stand-off with police.

The ceremony started with The Who song Behind Blue Eyes which contains the lyrics: “My love is vengeance that's never free.”

As 150 mourners, many powerfully built with shaven heads, filed out, the Alphaville song Forever Young, which includes the line “Do you really want to live forever?”, was played.

But despite Moat's family's attempts to stop people who were not friends paying their respects, mother-of-eight Theresa Bystram (45) travelled on an overnight bus from Weybridge, Surrey.

Mrs Bystram, who took three of her sons with her, said: “I absolutely loved him. I just think he is a hero and I wanted to pay my respects.”

But his former neighbour, Brian Johnson (27), of South Shields, South Tyneside, said Moat was “no hero”.

The married father-of-one said: “I lived next door to Raoul when he lived in Kenton. He was a good guy, friendly, but I would not ever have wanted to cross him.

“He was no hero. He was messed up. He had problems.

“I came to pay my last respects.”

Friends Kenneth Ingham and Peter Hefferin, both 18 and from Newcastle, said they understood why Moat had snapped.

Jobless Mr Ingham said: “He was only in prison four months and his lass started cheating on him with another man.

“It was cracking him up. There is only so much some people can take.”

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