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Police hail Moat suicide verdict

Police said they were "vindicated" after an inquest jury found that cornered killer Raoul Moat killed himself and backed officers' attempts to bring him to justice alive.

The panel found officers were right to use shotgun Tasers in an attempt to stop the 37-year-old fugitive shooting himself, despite the weapons only being licensed for testing and the marksmen who fired them having never handled them before.

The Independent Police Complaints Commission published a report at the conclusion of the three-week inquest, held at Newcastle Crown Court, which did not criticise the police action.

But Moat's half-brother Angus remained sceptical of the Taser use, and outside court said he still believed it was a "mistake".

Assistant Chief Constable Steve Ashman, who led the operation to bring in Moat after the killer went on the run, took the decision to allow marksmen to fire XREP rounds - which have a greater range than conventional Tasers - despite a code of practice banning unauthorised weapons.

After the inquest concluded, he said: "I think the verdict vindicates our actions that week."

The jury found that officers were right to use shotgun Tasers, which were intended to incapacitate Moat, allowing officers to make an arrest.

But in all likelihood on the rainy night there was little or no electrical discharge needed to lock up his muscles.

He was on the run after shooting his ex-girlfriend Sam Stobbart, executing her new boyfriend Chris Brown, and then blinding Pc David Rathband after he declared war on police.

His murderous rampage was sparked in two phone calls he made to Ms Stobbart from Durham Prison where he was serving a sentence for assaulting a child. She told him their relationship was over and that she had found a younger man who could knock him out.

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