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Saturday, July 17, 2010

Cops 'excited' by tasers

July 17, 2010
Sky News

COPS hunting for Raoul Moat were "excited" by the arrival of new Tasers just hours before they entered a stand-off with the fugitive gunman, according to witnesses. Onlookers described seeing the weapons being handed out to officers who they said then practised firing them at rubbish sacks.

Killer Moat, 37, died after shooting himself in the early hours of last Saturday morning at the end of a six-hour stand-off in the village of Rothbury, Northumberland.

It followed a week-long manhunt for the steroid-abusing father-of-three, who killed karate instructor Chris Brown, 29, and wounded his former girlfriend Sam Stobbart, 22 and PC David Rathband, 42.

Moat went on the rampage after Sam said she had left him for another man.

She watched as he blasted her new boyfriend to death before turning his gun on her.

Earlier this week, the opening of the inquest into Moat's death heard two Tasers were fired at him around the same time as the fatal shot.

Two firearms officers from West Yorkshire Police fired XRep Tasers, which were not approved by the government, the inquest was told.

The weapon, which is fired from a 12-gauge shotgun, is being tested by the Home Office before being approved for use by police forces in England and Wales.

But the Home Office stressed police could use any weapon they saw fit as long as its use was "lawful, reasonable and proportionate".

Workers on an industrial estate where police officers set up their Moat operation base said they saw boxes of Tasers arriving in a van at 11am on Friday last week.

Jason Potts told Sky News: "They came in a plain cardboard box, a brown cardboard box, and in that there was three other boxes."

Asked what the officers said when they saw the delivery, he replied: "'We've been waiting for these for a while, we're getting them now, what a coincidence.'

"They all seemed excited for them, you know."

Mr Potts said police fired training rounds into rubbish bags before returning to the van to sign forms.

"Eventually the van went away and they were all left with these guns," he added.

Moat was spotted at 7.25pm on Friday July 9 in the Riverside park area of Rothbury.

Armed police and negotiators stayed at the scene until Moat's gun went off at 1.12am the following morning.

He was formally declared dead in hospital at 2.22am.

The matter was referred to the Independent Police Complaints Commission by Northumbria Police.

The force said it would be "inappropriate to comment" on the Tasers while the IPCC investigation was ongoing.

West Yorkshire Police said it was also unable to comment due to the investigation.

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