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July 14 - 20 2010
Continued from page 1 the noses of police all along. He was reported to have had knowledge of the Rothbury area from time he spent there when a child, and many locals were convinced that he spent his last days hiding in a storm drain, sleeping rough and emerging at regular intervals to scavenge for food in nearby homes and greenhouses, evading police who were searching woods and fields outside the village.
The drain runs underneath the centre of the village. It is big enough to accommodate a man and has been refurbished recently.
Police were examining the drain at the weekend as part of their fingertip search of the riverbank area where Moat shot himself.
It runs for 300 yards beneath the village, from an inlet near Gregory Court down to an outfall into the River Coquet. The spot is half a mile from where the black Lexus car Moat had been using was recovered last Tuesday.
Steven Bridgett, an Alnwick district councillor, said: “Police have been swarming the area … and it could be that he has been hiding just metres away from them right under their feet.
“It’s a bit of a coincidence that he was found about five to 10 metres away from the opening of a culvert that runs through the village to channel floodwater. The culvert has been expanded in recent years. When I was a child I used to play there — most children in the village do.
“On the north side of the river there’s a concrete and metal hatch which you can lift open and you can climb into it that way. It runs under the village. It would explain a lot if that’s where he’s been hiding.
“It might explain why the infrared cameras haven’t found him, why the dogs haven’t found him and why even when there have been sightings of him right in the centre of the village he has managed to get away from the police.”
The tunnel was refurbished last year, with new piping and sediment traps fitted to strengthen flood defences. A construction worker, who would give his name only as Jason, worked on the installation of the drains system.
“He could have made his way up from the riverbank to the main street using the pipes,” he said. “They are round pipes which lead to the river. They’re not very long. He could crouch down and get through there.”
There were numerous sightings of Moat in the village last week. Last Thursday evening, he was
Top left: Raoul Moat (inset) holds a gun to his head after being found by police (top right) Far left: the drain where Moat is thought to have been hiding Left: CCTV footage of Moat in a DIY store and an officer armed with a Taser last Friday during the stand-off reported to have been seen walking down the High Street. Armed police rushed to the spot and a helicopter was scrambled, but he had disappeared.
An hour later someone answering Moat’s description was seen stealing a tomato from a greenhouse on an allotment near the storm drain. Police mounted an intensive search of the area under helicopter lights but, according to witnesses, they apparently failed to examine the nearby drain.
Alan Fendley, a parish councillor, said only a man of Moat’s size would have been able to prise his way into the storm drain.
“There is a valve at the end where Mr Moat was found and it would be really very hard to get inside although he clearly was a strong guy,” he said. “Whether he had been inside for some time or simply seeking refuge by the river when he was discovered remains to be seen.”
Northumbria Police declined to respond this week to the claims that Moat had spent time in the drain.
Sue Sim, Northumbria’s temporary chief constable, said: “Police discovered a man fitting the description of Moat near the riverbank in the Rothbury area. When he was discovered, he was armed. Negotiators were brought in to speak to him. For several hours negotiators were working to apprehend him safely.
“At around 1.15am, it appears the suspect shot himself. It appears no gunshots were fired by police officers. Right up until that time, police officers were striving to persuade Mr Moat to give himself up peacefully. During this time, officers discharged Taser. However, this did not prevent his death.”
The IPCC will also investigate how police apparently failed to act upon a warning from Durham prison officers issued within hours of Moat being released on the Thursday before he shot his ex-girlfriend. Prison authorities told officers that Moat presented a threat to Samantha Stobbart.
Nicholas Long, an IPCC commissioner, said a single investigation would cover both the failure to act on the warning and Moat’s death.
Mr Brown’s mother, Sally, said in a statement released through police: “I am relieved it’s all over … I would ask that I’m now allowed to grieve for my son in private.”
Continued from page 1 when Brazil beat Italy on penalties in Pasadena, had gone 90 minutes without a goal. But this match emulated that dubious distinction and a succession of reckless fouls by both sides forced the English referee, Howard Webb, into an unusually busy evening.
As such, it was the pomp and ceremony beforehand that became the highlight of the night. Africa’s first World Cup culminated in a stirring celebration of all things African, with appearances by Nelson Mandela, Ladysmith Black Mambazo — and elephants.
A cacophony of vuvuzelas and crowd cheers greeted Mr Mandela at Soccer City as he was driven across the pitch in a golf buggy with his wife, Graca Machel.
The former president had seldom been seen during the tournament, having cancelled plans to turn up at the opening ceremony after his great-granddaughter died in a car crash. Mr Mandela, one week short of his 92nd birthday, did not appear to join heads of state, including South Africa’s Jacob Zuma and Zimbabwe’s Robert Mugabe, in the VIP boxes.
The echoes of the host country’s last major sporting showpiece, the 1995 Rugby World Cup final, were unmistakable. On that occasion, a Boeing 747 staged a dramatic fly-past; this time, organisers turned to South Africa’s equivalent of the Red Arrows to provide the entertainment from above.
The transforming effect of the 1995 tournament, and its conversion of black South Africans to the traditional white man’s game of rugby, was dramatised in Clint Eastwood’s Invictus, the star of which, Morgan Freeman, had made the journey to Johannesburg on Sunday.
Football’s aficionados seemed united in the view that this was not a vintage World Cup, that the number of goalless draws and defensively minded teams had invited comparison with such turn-offs as Italia 90 and USA 94. The temperamental flight of the Jabulani ball did not help.
It will perhaps be remembered for the mosquito-like buzzing of the vuvuzelas but that would be to underestimate the unifying sense of pride among the hosts about the World Cup and the happy images of fans — black and white — mingling at the grounds, which have defied the gloomy naysayers.
The Mail and Guardian newspaper, recalling the seismic change wrought by the general elections in 1994 that brought an end to apartheid, wrote that “there has been more than a dash of ’94 in the air this past month”.
Fears of rampant crime, borne of enduring unrest in many townships, never materialised as local police
Pop singer Shakira performs at the closing ceremony staged a massive show of force.
The logistics of holding a World Cup in a country where much domestic travel was possible only by plane did not seem a problem either — apart from an incident at Durban before last Wednesday’s semi-final involving Spain, which 700 ticketholders missed due to the closure of the airport.
Up to half a million visitors had been expected in South Africa, and while the official total of 370,000 fell some way short, more than three million match tickets were sold. Fifa blamed the unusual spectacle of empty seats at many stadiums on the failure of companies to take up their full allocation.
A quiet revolution has taken place among the television audience, too. For the first time in the US, every match of the finals was shown live by ESPN, leading to a 50 per cent increase in the number of viewers from four years ago — and all in a country hardly renowned for its love of “soccer”.
The other misplaced anxiety was that the first-round exit of the hosts, South Africa’s beloved Bafana Bafana, would cause communities from Cape Town to Nelspruit to switch off. But such a disappointment was forgotten as Ghana took up the task of galvanising African interest, reaching the quarter-finals.
President Zuma appeared to have caught the progressive spirit, urging his counterparts at an African summit to bring millions more children into school.
Struggles remain, particularly the challenges of finding use for the stadiums beyond this World Cup and of sustaining the reduction in crime. But on a day when Holland and Spain neglected to fulfil their star billing, the triumph was South Africa’s.
Expat Life, page 32 World Cup reports, pages 45-48