Who was Raoul Moat? The Newcastle killer who sparked dramatic manhunt

To the outside world he may have looked like a burly body-building bouncer who was tough both inside and out.

But behind Raoul Moat’s hard exterior hid a paranoid, insecure obsessive, say those close to him.

The former doorman became Britain’s most wanted fugitive when he went on the run after shooting three people, in July 2010.

Moat was eventually cornered by armed police in Rothbury, Northumberland, where he took his own life.

But just who was Raoul Moat, and what drove him to carry out his horrific crimes?

The gunman grew up in the Fenham area of Newcastle with his half-brother Angus.

The brothers spent most of their childhood being raised by their grandmother.



Gunman Raoul Moat
Gunman Raoul Moat

Moat never knew his real father, who would later be revealed to be Peter Blake from Birmingham.

Peter said he had no idea Moat’s mum, Josephine Healey, had been pregnant when they separated.

And friends and family of the killer have said it could have been Moat’s desperation to create the perfect family life he never had, that led to his violent rampage when he lost it all.

His best friend, Tony Laidler, 45, said: “He just wanted a family life. He was with the kids all the time. When he was self-employed he used to try and arrange all his work around the kids. He was really good with them.”



Tony Laidler from Newcastle who was best friends with Raoul Moat

And speaking in the days after his friend’s death Tony said he believed Moat had been unfairly harassed by police during his time as a doorman, and that this was something that contributed to his desperation.

“We were both getting harassed off the police,” he said. “But it started to really get to him. He always used to rub his face when he got stressed and whenever I went round he was sitting on the sofa rubbing his face.

“We have knocked around together since I was about three. He was just a normal lad, a proper lad who was into motorbikes and stuff and we were always out catching frogs and whatever.

“He was brought up by his gran and he only saw his mam when she came with presents every other Christmas.”



Raoul Moat

Moat quit his job as a bouncer six years before the shotings and started his tree surgery business, Mr Trimmit.

But Tony claimed he still had regular run-ins with police.

Moat’s shooting spree began two days after he was released from Durham Prison, where he served an 18 week sentence for assaulting a child.

While Moat was in the run Angus spoke exclusively to the Chronicle about Moat.

He said he believed his younger brother had suffered a breakdown when he carried out the shootings.

And Angus argued Moat was not the Terminator-style killer he had been portrayed as during the manhunt, but simply a dad who wanted to keep his family together.

“I think Raoul had a lot of baggage to do with our family,” he explained. “I think he just wanted a stable family life, but it has never worked and that he has had a breakdown.

“He came from a fairly dysfunctional background with very little maternal affection there, perhaps that’s the reason why he was so desperate to form a stable family unit himself in adult life.

“When that has gone wrong perhaps it was the straw that broke the camel’s back.”



Scene of the shootings in Birtley

Growing up together in Newcastle’s West End, Angus and his brother were virtually inseparable.

And despite their troubled family set-up Angus said his brother was always an outgoing fun-loving lad with lots of friends.

“My grandmother was the stabilising influence in our lives,” said Angus.

“But both myself and Raoul took it in our stride. He was very outdoorsy. He liked to go out and play and he liked wildlife. There was nothing out of the ordinary about him.”

As the brothers reached their early 20s they grew apart.

Moat became obsessed with weight training and started to spend most of his time with other body-builders, while Angus was more academic and went to university.

“Body-building was his thing,” said Angus. “He trained every day and took a lot of pride in it.”



Angus Moat

And Angus said it was possible Moat had become hooked on steroids and these altered his state of mind.

“He was not a monster he was a normal loving guy. I know what he’s done is horrific and if he wasn’t my brother I would be thinking the same as everyone else.

“But it’s so hard for me to put the two people together in my mind. He was a friendly, generous soul; a very loyal individual, warm, with a great sense of humour, just a lovely, lovely guy.

“He was sensitive – perhaps too sensitive, which might have been what led him down this dark path. Perhaps he suffered one too many slights, one too many prangs, one too many buttons pressed.”

Moat is said to have told police negotiators in Rothbury that he had no father, and that nobody cared for him.



Police hunting for Raoul Moat near Rothbury

Unbeknown to him, his real father Peter, who was living in Surrey at the time, had been desperate to speak to him.

Peter, who never met Moat, discovered it was his son at the centre of the manhunt through news coverage.

And he has since said he blames himself for the tragedy.



Raoul Moat’s father Peter Blake

In September 2010 he appeared on ITV’s this morning programme and said: “If I’d have been there for him any time in his life, I think none of this would have happened, you would never have heard of him. “It’s an incredible tragedy and I would like to say I’m sorry.

“I’m sorry not for what I did, but for what I didn’t do. I’m dreadfully sorry to all the victims.”

It was during the early hours of July 3, 2010, that Moat arrived in Birtley, Gateshead, with a sawn-off shotgun. He blasted his ex Samantha Stobbart, 22, twice and killed her new partner Chris Brown, 29.



The scene after PC David Rathband was shot

Less than 24 hours later he made a phone call to Northumbria Police declaring he intended to target police officers before creeping up on 42-year-old traffic officer PC Rathband, and shooting him through the window of his patrol car.

The attack left PC Rathband blind and he took his own life in 2012.

Moat remained on the run for seven days before shooting himself on the banks of the River Coquet.


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