ITV’s new true crime drama, The hunt for Raul Moat, tells the startling story of Britain’s biggest manhunt, which took place in 2010 after Moat – a former bouncer and bodybuilder – shot three people just days after being released from prison.
The three parts focus on the innocent victims of Moat’s crimes – Christopher Brown, Samantha Stobbart and PC David Rathband – as well as the police officers who have come to the fore in their quest to apprehend Moat, and the local reporter who has sought to tell the true story of Moat.
Lee Ingleby plays senior Northumbrian police officer Neil Adamson, with Sonya Cassidy playing local reporter Diane Barnwell and Matt Stokoe playing Moat.
Some details, such as footballer Paul Gascoigne’s unlikely involvement in the case, were left out of the dramatization.
Below is a summary of the true story it inspired The hunt for Raoul Moat.
How the manhunt unfolded in real life
On July 1, 2010, Moat was released from prison. He had just served an 18-week sentence for assaulting a nine-year-old relative. The 37-year-old former bodybuilder was approximately 6 feet 3 inches tall, 17 stone and prone to “rage outbursts.”
Two days after his release, Moat went to the house where his ex-girlfriend Stobbart (with whom he shared a young daughter) and her new partner, 29-year-old karate instructor Brown, were staying.
It was here that Moat shot Brown at point blank range with a shotgun, killing him. He also fired into the building, wounding Stobbart in the arm and abdomen. Her injuries were not fatal and she survived.
On July 4, Moat struck again, opening fire on Police Officer Rathband who was sitting in a police vehicle. Rathband survived the shooting but was permanently blinded and died by suicide in February 2012 after struggling to come to terms with his injury.
Moat had taunted police before and after Rathband’s shooting, warning them of what he was going to do and then telling them they weren’t “taking me seriously enough.”
In response, 160 armed officers were deployed to find the criminal, which represented around 10% of those available in England and Wales at any one time.
At least 10 armored anti-terrorist vehicles have been dispatched from Northern Ireland while snipers, dogs, helicopters and even an RAF fighter were deployed in the search.
Days after the manhunt began, the police secretly recruited television survival expert Ray Mears to help track Moat’s movements. Mears later said he will never know if he was responsible for tracking down Moat, but believes he and the search team were within 20 yards of him.
On 9 July, Moat was discovered hiding on the National Trust’s Cragside estate in the parish of Cartington. A tense, hours-long standoff ensued with the criminal holding a sawed-off shotgun to his neck.
It was at this point that Gascoigne arrived, claiming that he knew Moat and had brought him chicken and lager. He was not allowed access to the negotiation.
Shots were heard in the early hours of the following morning, with Moat sustaining a gunshot wound that killed him. A coroner ruled the following week that Moat had committed suicide after shooting himself in the head.
After Moat’s death, many of his associates were arrested on suspicion of assisting the killer. Karl Ness and his friend Qhuram Awan were both sentenced to life in prison for conspiracy and attempted murder.
The hunt for Raoul Moat starts on ITV1 and ITVX on Sunday 16th April. Episode two airs Monday April 17 and episode three airs Tuesday April 18.