Two in court over missing gunman

Two in court over missing gunman

Two men appeared in court in Britain today accused of being part of fugitive gunman Raoul Moat’s conspiracy to hunt down and kill policemen.

Karl Ness and Qhuram Awan are charged with conspiracy to commit murder and possessing a firearm with intent.

Ness was allegedly with Moat when he shot his former girlfriend Samantha Stobbart and killed her new partner Chris Brown early on Saturday, the court heard.

Prosecutor Paul Simpson said the Crown case was that the men supplied Moat with the gun he allegedly used.

After Miss Stobbart and Mr Brown were shot, Moat allegedly shot and seriously injured Pc David Rathband and declared war on Northumbria Police in a rambling letter.

The court heard that Ness and Awan were allegedly with Moat when the officer was shot,

Ness and Awan were detained by armed police after they were found on Tuesday in Rothbury, Northumberland, where the search for Moat, 37, has now entered its sixth day.

Ness, 26, from Dudley in North Tyneside, and Awan, 23, from Blyth in Northumberland, were remanded in custody when they appeared at Newcastle Magistrates’ Court.

Both men have indicated they will deny the charges, the court heard.

Mark Harrison, for Ness, said: “He denies any wrongdoing but of course that will be an argument for another day.”

Ness was bearded and stocky while Awan was shorter and sported stubble. Awan had relatives in court who waved as he was led from the dock.

Outside court, Khashif Khan, representing Awan’s family, said: “The family have full confidence in the justice system to exonerate their brother.”

Also speaking outside court, Darren Rathband, brother of the injured officer, paid tribute to him, revealing that “even now, he wants to still continue to serve the community of Northumbria”.

He said: “My brother is an inspiration, not only to me. He should be an inspiration to everybody involved in this investigation.

“He wants to thank Northumbria officers and all the other officers from across the country who’ve come up here to resolve this incident.”

The court appearance came as police released CCTV images of Moat, a former nightclub bouncer, at a branch of B&Q in Newcastle on Friday, hours before Miss Stobbart and Mr Brown were shot.

In the pictures Moat has a distinctive Mohican-style haircut and is wearing a tight-fitting bright orange T-shirt with dark jeans and white trainers.

Northumbria’s temporary deputy chief constable Jim Campbell said: “He looks different in these images compared to previous photographs, and in particular (they) show his hairstyle, what he was wearing, and the fact he seems to have lost weight.

“We’re hoping these up-to-date images will help the public identify him.”

The suspect is facing more appeals to give himself up, while his mother said she thinks her son would be “better off dead”.

More on this topic

Moat 'more likely' to surrender as night falls

Major operation underway in search for Moat

Police find three phones used by fugitive

Manhunt enters seventh day

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