British fugitive kills himself in standoff with police after weeklong manhunt

Saturday, July 10, 2010

UK fugitive kills himself after police move in

LONDON — A fugitive wanted for murder killed himself after police moved in to arrest him Saturday, ending a weeklong manhunt that had transfixed Britain.

Police in northeastern England said Raoul Thomas Moat, 37, was found alongside a riverbank on Friday. Authorities surrounded him and a six-hour standoff ensued.

The fugitive — wanted for wounding his ex-girlfriend, killing her new boyfriend and shooting a police officer — turned a shotgun on himself when police moved in.

The incident took place in Rothbury, about 30 miles (50 kilometers) north of the city of Newcastle. The picturesque village and its surrounding countryside had become the focus of a police manhunt and 24-hour news coverage after Moat’s car was found in the area.

Hundreds of officers had swarmed into the region, and nationally broadcast news conferences kept the nation apprised of Moat’s movements, his campsites and the letters he left behind to his ex-girlfriend. Newspapers published a letter in which Moat “declared war” on the police.

In a country with tough gun laws, the prospect of an armed man on the loose was front page news. Tensions heightened after police said that the public — and not just police — might be in danger.

After days of tracking, police responded to reports that Moat was on a riverbank at about 7:20 p.m on Friday. They warned residents to stay indoors for their own safety.

“When he was discovered he was armed,” Chief Superintendent Mark Dennett of Northumbria Police said. “Expert negotiators were brought in to speak to him and spoke to him extensively for several hours.”

The siege wore on, and at one point police gave Moat food and water as negotiators attempted to persuade him to give up. But by early Saturday, officers apparently attempted to wrestle him to the ground and he turned the gun on himself.

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