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Wales Online
Wales Online
Kathryn Williams

ITV The Hunt For Raoul Moat: The real story behind the drama about Britain's biggest manhunt

The Hunt For Raoul Moat is a real life drama on the 2010 manhunt in the northeast of England during which Moat, recently out of prison, shot ex-girlfriend Samantha Stobbart and her new partner, Chris Brown, who died as a result.

A former doorman who had been in jail for assaulting a nine-year-old child, Moat went on the run after the violent incident and left a trail of more violence, tragedy and crime behind him. The morning after the double shooting, the criminal shot PC David Rathband as he was sitting in his police car. Rathband was permanently blinded in the shooting and in February 2012 was found hanged at his home having died by suicide, a third victim of Moat's violent nature and actions.

Read more: The Hunt for Raoul Moat - Full cast list including The A Word and Jamestown stars

Despite Northumbria Police’s best efforts, Moat evaded them for over a week, threatening to kill police officers and members of the public the whole time. The manhunt played out against a warped perception of Moat as an ‘anti-hero’, a persecuted victim fighting back against the authorities. The reality was that he was an armed sociopath who declared war on the police.

David Rathband, the dad-of-two never came to terms with being blinded by a bullet during Raoul Moat’s murderous spree in July 2010 (Newcastle Chronicle)
Raoul Moat (SWNS)

The shootings led to 160 armed officers being sent on an enormous manhunt to track down Moat, along with snipers, helicopters, anti-terrorist vehicles and an RAF jet. Survivalist Ray Mears was even secretly contacted by the police for his help to track Moat.

Moat was finally found on July 9 2010, discovered hiding in Cragside, a National Trust property in Northumberland. During the stand-off the murderer was offered food and water and his friend, Tony Laidler, was brought to the scene in an attempt to get him to surrender. Ex-England footballer Paul Gascoigne also arrived at the scene carrying a fishing rod and claiming he knew Moat — you can read more on that here. The next day, July 10, Moat shot himself in the head.

Writer of the new ITV drama about the series of events, Kevin Sampson, said: "This drama seeks to remember Moat’s victims – Chris Brown, Samantha Stobbart and David Rathband – and show how the legal and probationary service needs to do more to take domestic violence seriously and understand its potentially fatal consequences."

Sonya Cassidy, who plays local reporter, Diane Barnwell, has said of the series: "This story is about the victims: Sam Stobbart, Chris Brown, David Rathband and their families. I felt comfortable bringing the story to life because I could see that everybody on the production has done their work respectfully. I felt an extra sense of responsibility both in telling this story generally but then knowing it is about real people. There is an extra layer of responsibility there. Also, the fact that the local journalists had come across Moat before and were already aware of him.

"This story also reflects the need for community and that collective. The local press, which is a noble but dying breed, are there on the ground. They live alongside the people they report on and for. Diane wants the story. It’s her job. But there was a sense of her saying to the police, ‘We’re all here. This affects all of us. How can we help you? How can you give us the information needed to help people?’ That was striking. It’s not a story of journalists being bad and they only want the story. And the police are not getting it right. These things are not black and white. There are complicated moments in this drama involving both Moat and the police.”

How many episodes of The Hunt for Raoul Moat are there?

There are three, hour-long episodes, running over three consecutive nights, April 16, 17 and 18. There is also a follow-up documentary, Manhunt: The Raoul Moat Story on ITV, Wednesday, April 19 at 9pm.

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