Three more arrests in British fugitive gunman case

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Police in Britain on Tuesday arrested three more people on suspicion of helping gunman Raoul Moat evade capture, as an inquest opened three days after a stand-off with police ended in his death.

Moat, a 37-year-old nightclub bouncer, went on the run in northeast England after killing his ex-girlfriend's new partner and seriously injuring her and a policeman, prompting a huge police search.

He was tracked down to the village of Rothbury and eventually shot himself Saturday after police had conducted hours of negotiations while he held a gun to his head.

Police are facing questions after using stun guns on him. Investigators say this was in an apparent attempt to stop him from killing himself but his brother claims it could have prompted him to pull the trigger involuntarily.

Opening an inquest into Moat's death in the city of Newcastle, coroner David Mitford confirmed he was killed by a gunshot wound to the head.

Investigator Steve Reynolds from the Independent Police Complaints Commission, which is probing the circumstances of the death, said that two police officers fired Taser guns in an apparent bid to stop Moat committing suicide.

The IPCC is also looking at why police failed to heed warnings from prison authorities that Moat would pose a potential threat to his former partner Samantha Stobbart when he left jail after serving an 18-week sentence for assault days before the attacks.

Earlier, police said they had arrested three more men in connection with assisting an offender during the search for Moat, in Newcastle and nearby Gateshead.

"At this stage the investigation is still on-going and further arrests can't be ruled out," they added.

A total of 10 people have been arrested in the case, of which two have been charged.

© 2010 AFP

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