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Sophie Doughty

"It's a living nightmare": How Raoul Moat's brother revealed his agony during manhunt

As armed police hunted his fugitive brother, Angus Moat could only watch on in helpless desperation.

Raoul Moat sparked Britain's biggest manhunt when he went on the run after shooting three people in 2010, before he eventually took his own life on a riverbank in Rothbury, Northumberland

The police operation to find Moat has now been brought to life in the new ITV drama, The Hunt for Raoul Moat.

Read more: "I can't forget it" - Fenham shop keeper says he is haunted by terrifying machete attack

The three-part series shows how the search for Moat was played out on live television 24 hours a day, with tabloid newspapers offering large sums of money for stories about the gunman's private life.

But while Moat was at large his older brother Angus shunned all offers of payment to speak exclusively the his local paper, the Chronicle.

Angus phoned our newsdesk in the middle of the week long manhunt and invited Chronicle crime reporter Sophie Doughty to his Newcastle home to tell us how different the Raoul Moat he grew-up with was from the crazed killer being portrayed in the media.

This interview is brought to life in a scene in The Hunt for Raoul Moat in which we see Chronicle journalist Diane Barnwell, a fictional character based on Sophie and played by Sonya Cassidy, visiting Moat's brother at his home.

And today we take a look back at what Angus, whose character is played by Geordie actor Micky McGregor, told us about the "living nightmare" he was going through and the moment he discovered his brother was at the centre of the manhunt

Sonya Cassidy as Diane Barnwell in The Hunt for Raoul Moat (ITV STUDIOS)

Angus said: "A friend of mine heard it on the radio and asked if it was my brother, so I looked on the internet and there he was. It was just a feeling of pure horror then and it’s still a living nightmare now. It’s just surreal.”

Moat sparked one of the biggest manhunts in UK history when, on Saturday, July 3, 2010, he began his shooting spree in Birtley, Gateshead.

The 37-year-old, from Fenham in Newcastle, was waiting for his ex-girlfriend Samantha Stobbart and her new boyfriend Christopher Brown when they came out of a neighbour’s home during the early hours of the morning.

ITV's Hunt for Raoul Moat (ITV)

With little warning Moat, who had been released from prison two days earlier, shot Christopher twice. The 29-year-old was killed instantly. Moat then turned his gun on 22-year-old Samantha, who he left critically injured.

Less than 24 hours later, Moat crept up on PC David Rathband as he sat in his patrol car in Newcastle's West End and blasted the 42-year-old officer in the face, before disappearing into the night.

Moat would remain on the run for a week before he eventually shot himself after a long-stand-off with armed officers in Rothbury, Northumberland.

The scene of Christopher Brown's murder in Birtley (Newcastle Chronicle)

While Moat was on the run Angus explained how he believed his younger brother had suffered a breakdown when he shot Sam, 22, and Christopher, 29. Brown.

And he told the Chronicle Moat, 37, was not the Terminator-style killer he was being portrayed as, but simply a dad who wanted to keep his family together.

“I think Raoul had a lot of baggage to do with our family,” he explained. “I think he just wanted a stable family life, but it has never worked and that he has had a breakdown.

Lib - Flowers and tributes left at the house of Raoul Moat. Pic Andy Commins 12/07/10 (Newcastle Chronicle)

“He came from a fairly dysfunctional background, perhaps that’s the reason why he was so desperate to form a stable family unit himself in adult life.

“When that has gone wrong perhaps it was the straw that broke the camel’s back.”

Growing up together in Newcastle’s West End, Angus and his brother were virtually inseparable.

But childhood was traumatic for the youngsters.

And Angus believes it was his unhappy early family life that led Moat to become obsessed with building his own family, and then to an eventual breakdown.

The boys spent much of their early days with grandmother Margaret Rollo, who raised them in a house on the same street where their mother Josephine Healey lived with their step-dad Brian.

And despite living in this dysfunctional family setting Angus said his brother was always an outgoing fun-loving lad with lots of friends.

“My mother had a lot of long stays in mental hospitals and my grandmother was the stabilising influence in our lives,” said Angus.

“But both myself and Raoul took it in our stride. He was very outdoorsy. He like to go out and play and he liked wildlife. There was nothing out of the ordinary about him.”

As the brothers reached their early 20s they grew apart.

Moat became obsessed with weight training and started to spend most of his time with other body-builders, while Angus was more academic and went to university.

“We were very close until I went to university and my grandmother died, because she was like the pin that held the family together,” said Angus.

The brothers almost completely lost touch when Moat got together with his first partner.

However, one day Angus got a call from his brother’s new girlfriend telling him his brother was in hospital having tried to take his own life by swallowing some sort of solvent.

And it was then he realised he had not come through their childhood unscathed.

Angus said he believed Moat had got into martial arts and body-building to raise his self-esteem.

“Body-building was his thing,” said Angus. “He trained every day and took a lot of pride in it.”

And he thinks it’s possible Moat had become hooked on steroids and these altered his state of mind.

Angus said the seven day manhunt was agony for him as as he could only watch and wait as armed police hunted his brother.

“I knew his state of mind was not right and he’s under a lot of stress,” he said. “But I didn’t think they need all these armed officers to catch Raoul.

“He was not the Terminator character he was being portrayed as. He had been backed into a corner, and it was like they were. using a sledgehammer to crack a nut.

“He was not a monster he was a normal loving guy.”

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