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'One chance' to capture Moat alive

The officer in charge of the police operation to capture Raoul Moat said the use of experimental Taser weapons gave the "one chance" to bring him in alive.

Police feared the gunman intended to end his rampage of violence by attacking police marksmen and committing "suicide by cop".

Northumbria Police Assistant Chief Constable Steve Ashman was offered the use of the non-lethal X-Rep Taser shotguns on the day detectives discovered Moat intended to kill innocent members of the public for every "lie" printed about him in the press.

The pump action shotgun style weapons would enable officers to shoot Moat from a greater distance than standard police issue X-26 Taser pistols.

They also delivered an electric charge for longer than the X-26, the inquest at Newcastle Crown Court heard.

Mr Ashman said he had had to balance breaking the Association of Chief Police Officers code of conduct, which forbade the use of non approved weapons, with Moat's right to life under Article 2 of the Human Rights Act.

He said the decision to use the guns meant "the buck stopped with him". The weapons were used during the stand-off on the riverbank in Rothbury, Northumberland, when Moat shot himself using a sawn off shotgun.

Mr Ashman, who led Operation Bulwark, the mission to find and capture the fugitive, said he wanted to bring in Moat alive to face justice.

He said: "Moat had to face justice for what he had done but I also had a duty to protect his life.

"An opportunity had been presented to me, one I had not thought of but one which I was duty bound to examine because it gave us possibly the only chance, possibly one chance and one chance only, a single chance to apprehend him without using lethal force, without shooting and killing him."


From Belfast Telegraph