Police not to blame in death of British fugitive

27th September 2011, Comments 0 comments

Inquest jurors on Tuesday cleared British police of any wrongdoing in the death of fugitive gunman Raoul Moat, who shot himself after a six-hour stand-off with officers in July.

The jury concluded that the use of tasers, which were only licensed for testing, had not caused 37-year-old Moat to kill himself by accident.

Police used the X12 taser shotguns, which had not been handled by officers previously, as they shot cartridges over a longer range.

Consultant neuropathologist Ian Schofield told the hearing that he did not believe there was definitive evidence to suggest the electrical impulse from the taser shot had caused Moat's hand to contract and involuntarily pull the trigger.

One of Britain's biggest ever manhunts ended when Moat killed himself after a six-hour siege on July 10.

After seven days on the run during which he shot and wounded his ex-girlfriend, killed her new partner and injured a policeman, armed police surrounded Moat in the village of Rothbury in northeast England.

Armed officers eventually cornered the former nightclub bouncer and father of three children in a field.

British police have been criticised in recent years over high-profile fatal incidents, notably the shooting of Brazilian electrician Jean Charles de Menezes in the aftermath of the 2005 London bombings, and the death of a man in last year's G20 protests.

Northumbria Police assistant chief constable Steve Ashman, who took the decision to deploy the X12 shotguns, said the inquest's conclusion "vindicates our actions that week".

After the verdict was delivered, Moat's brother Angus said he remained "highly critical of the police decision not to allow myself, or any other friend or relative, to speak to Raoul alongside police negotiators".

© 2011 AFP

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