"No turning back"
"No turning back"
ust 50 minutes after the attempted murder of PC Rathband, Moat taunts the police again.
“Are you taking me serious now?...I’m going to destroy a few lives like you’ve destroyed mine...I tell you now I am absolutely not going to stop...you’re going to have to kill me.”
Moat revisits Andy one last time. Sometime before two in the morning, Karl Ness knocks on Andy’s door. He says Moat wants him. Andy goes to the car and Moat asks him for his phone. Andy tries to persuade him to give himself in again. Moat takes Andy’s phone and hands him pages and pages of his ‘innermost thoughts’. He wants the police, press and public to know his motivation:
“All my life I wanted death.”
Moat heads for Northumbria. He tells the police he has two hostages. Unbeknownst to them, Moat’s two hostages are his co-conspirators, Karl Ness and Ness’s accomplice, 23-year-old Qhuram Awan.
Northumbria Police publicly link the shootings and Temporary Chief Constable Sue Sim makes an announcement. It sounds like it’s more from a US TV crime series than a North of England police statement:
“Raoul Thomas Moat is a wanted man. He is very dangerous and shouldn’t be approached by a member of the public.”
Overnight, extra firearms officer from forces including Cleveland, Humberside, West and South Yorkshire and Cumbria are brought into the hunt for Moat. Northern Ireland sends 20 armoured cars. The Met police send 40 armed officers. In total 19 police forces join the hunt for Moat. It’s one of the biggest British police operations ever mounted. At one stage, one in ten of all Britain’s firearms officers are in on the operation.
Samantha comes out of her critical condition and begs the father of her child to stop:
“Please give yourself up. If you still loved me and our baby you would not be doing this.”
But Moat goes into a chip shop, threatens staff and steals £100 at gunpoint.
The police decide to enlist the help of the public in looking for the car in which Moat’s travelling.
That Tuesday sees the public release of Moat letter promising not to stop;
‘until I’m dead’.
A member of public rings in claiming to have seen the black Lexus. The police find it next to some industrial units on the edge of a quiet market town, Rothbury.
The three fugitives have split up and Ness and Awan have walked on the main road away from Rothbury. A helicopter tracks them. A firecracker-like stun grenade disorients and distracts them. Armed officers handcuff and arrest them. Letters they’d written to their families will soon indicate that maybe they were more willing accomplices than hostages fearing for their lives.
Just after 11:00am, a two mile exclusion zone is set up in the Rothbury area of Northumberland. Residents are advised to stay indoors.
Moat is hoping to lose himself in the area. It’s both sparsely populated and has thousands of acres of dense woodland, cliffs and undergrowth. He knows it well from camping there in his twenties. Sniper units begin combing the wilderness.
KING KONG & THE INCREDIBLE HULK
The police find a campsite used by the Moat and his accomplices. They find a Dictaphone on which Moat has excused and justified his actions. He compares his situation to that of King Kong on top of the Empire State Building and to feeling like The Incredible Hulk. Chillingly he now says the public, as much as the police are in his sights. Press reports about him highlight his disturbed personality: how he’d disciplined a child by making her stand in the street with a ‘naughty’ sign wearing a jesters hat; how he’d beaten a family pet to death in front of another child. Even his mother, Josephine, joins in his condemnation saying:
“He’s better off dead.”
Moat now wants revenge on the reporters and threatens to kill one person for each inaccurate report he hears.
Realising how precarious the situation is, the press agree to report on the manhunt, but not on the man. Too late, his brother Angus tries to tell the media that Moat has had a breakdown, that his family hasn’t abandoned him and that the killings are out of character. But the blackout is in force and Moat will never hear his sibling’s words of support.
On Wednesday police offer £10,000 for information leading to Moat’s capture. An RAF Tornado jet equipped with heat seeking equipment circles in the sky.
Thursday sees police agree to station officers outside schools. That afternoon it’s revealed Moat’s target will be the public as much as the police. CCTV images show Moat with his new Mohican hairstyle.
“This was probably the most dangerous situation that I’ve ever been involved in.“
Superintendent Jim Napier
Surprisingly, panic doesn’t grip the quiet, genteel, rural town. This allows the police to focus on the manhunt, not on crowd control. The police are aware that they were hunting an already unstable man. But now Moat has now been on the run, against the elements, without food or water for several days.
TV SURVIVAL EXPERT STAR
The police send in survival expert and TV star, Ray Mears. Starting from the their last known location, the campsite, he finds tracks that could belong to Moat. The police are close to flushing Moat out of the woods.