British police fired a Taser stun gun during the dramatic last stand by gunman Raoul Moat, Northumbria Police Temporary Chief Constable Sue Sim said today.
Ms Sim said that during the six-hour stand-off at Rothbury, Northumbria, officers had been striving to persuade Moat to give himself up peacefully, adding: “During this time officers discharged Taser. However this did not prevent his death.”
She said it appeared Moat had shot himself dead and that no gun shots were fired by police.
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 UK 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.”