Two police officers fired Taser guns at Raoul Moat before he shot himself, an inquest opening heard today.
Independent Police Complaints Authority senior investigator Steve Reynolds told the hearing in Newcastle that the officers, from West Yorkshire police, discharged their Tasers in an apparent attempt to prevent Moat from killing himself.
Newcastle coroner David Mitford said the cause of Moat's death was a gunshot wound to the head.
Mr Reynolds, a senior investigator with the IPCC, told the hearing at Newcastle Civic Centre: “At 1.12am Mr Moat's shotgun discharged, resulting in him receiving fatal injuries.
“At some point around the time of the fatal shot two West Yorkshire firearms officers armed with Tasers discharged their weapons at Mr Moat.
“This was understood to have been in an effort to prevent Mr Moat taking his own life.
“At this stage the precise sequence of events regarding the discharge of Taser has not been established and is under investigation.”
Mr Reynolds said that at 7.25pm on Friday night a member of the public saw the former nightclub doorman at the Riverside park area in Rothbury, Northumberland, and called police.
“Armed police contained Mr Moat and negotiators were deployed to achieve a peaceful outcome,” Mr Reynolds told the hearing.
“He was in possession of a sawn-off shotgun, which he had pointed at his head.”
Mr Reynolds said the matter had been referred to the Independent Police Complaints Commission (IPCC) by Northumbria Police.
He would be focusing his investigation on the final hours of Moat’s life – from when he was first spotted at 7.25pm until he was formally declared dead in hospital at 2.22am the following day – and looking at the tactics the police used.
Mr Reynolds said he would also be investigating how police had handled intelligence from Durham Prison warning that Moat would harm his ex-partner, Samantha Stobbart.
Newcastle Coroner David Mitford said the preliminary cause of death was a gunshot wound to the head.
Moat was formally identified by his uncle, Charlie Alexander.
No family members were in court today as the coroner opened and adjourned the hearing until a later date.
During the stand-off with Moat, police were armed with the Taser XREP - a weapon which is still undergoing testing.
Today, the Home Office confirmed it was not approved for use by forces in England and Wales.
A spokesman said: “It is currently subject to testing by the HOSDB (Home Office Scientific Development Branch).
“However, legally, police forces have discretion to use any equipment they see fit as long as the use of force is lawful, reasonable and proportionate.
“The process for approval of less lethal weapons is set out in a Home Office code of practice document on police use of firearms which Chief Constables must ’have regard to’.”
Today, Northumbria Police said searches of the storm drain running under Rothbury had not found evidence that Moat had hidden there.
“The storm drain in Rothbury was searched and an examination showed no evidence or signs of disturbance that would indicate anybody had been in the drain,” a force spokesman said.