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Simon Duke

ITV's Hunt for Raoul Moat star Sonya Cassidy has TV past as part of 'devastating' Vera exit

Sonya Cassidy will soon be on screen in the most talked about drama of the year so far - ITV's The Hunt for Raoul Moat - but she has a big TV past, having been in Vera and part of an exit that left fans and Brenda Blethyn heartbroken.

After the trailer for the true crime series premiered at the weekend, further details have now been revealed for the three part small screen adaptation of the man hunt that dominated headlines in the summer of 2010, when, having just been released from prison, Raoul Moat headed to Birtley to shoot ex Samantha Stobbart and murder her new boyfriend Christopher Brown.

Raoul's shooting spree didn't stop there as he then fired a gun at PC David Rathband, blinding the police officer as he sat on duty in a patrol car on the outskirts of Newcastle.

READ MORE: Vera star Kenny Doughty's famous girlfriend lands role in another Ann Cleeves drama

As police launched a huge search for him, Moat headed to Northumberland, with the week long run of events coming to a standstill when the killer was engaged in a stand-off with police on a river bank in Rothbury, before shooting himself in the head and dying from huis injuries.

ITV will bring The Hunt for Raoul Moat to the primetime 9pm slot for three nights in a row, from Sunday, April 16 and The Hunt for Raoul Moat cast includes Matt Stokoe in the chilling title role and Sonya as fictional Evening Chronicle journalist Diane Barnwell.

Sonya will be a very familiar face face to any fans of Vera as she was Celine, the wife of DCI Stanhope's first ever sidekick, DS Joe Ashworth. And both Joe and Celine left in mysterious circumstances, with no exit storyline. It was confirmed between series that David had quit the show, with his absence explained on screen by Brenda,. as she told replacement DS Aiden Healy: "Oh, big promotion. Nice house next to an ‘outstanding’ school. Another girl on the way."

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

David leaving Vera came as a bitter blow to fans and his leading lady Brenda, who just this year, commented: "I never thought I’d get over David Leon going in series four. That broke my heart.

The fact that David has been confirmed to return to Vera for series 13 also leaves the door open for Sonya to come back and reprise her role as Celine.

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  • ITV confirm start date for The Hunt for Raoul Moat
  • The Hunt for Raoul Moat - how the Chronicle played central role in manhunt drama
  • Why Hunt for Raoul Moat writer wanted to do ITV drama
  • Vera's Kenny Doughty shuts down talk of role in BBC drama
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