Court hears of Moat’s texts with alleged accomplice

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GUNMAN Raoul Moat told an associate only a day before he was released from prison and went on his murderous rampage last July “we’ve got lots to do tomorrow”, a jury has been told.

The trial of two of Moat’s accomplices, who are accused of helping the fugitive stay on the run until his death after a police stand-off on a riverbank in Rothbury, began Wednesday at Newcastle Crown Court.

Karl Ness denies the murder of Chris Brown, who was shot dead by Moat less than 24 hours after the gunman was released from prison.

Robert Smith QC, prosecuting, said Ness, 26, waited for Moat in a Transit van near the murder scene while the gunman carried out the “calmly delivered execution” of his former girlfriend Samantha Stobbart’s new partner, Mr Brown, before shooting and wounding Miss Stobbart.

Ness, of Brookside, Dudley, also denies the attempted murder of police officer David Rathband, who was blinded when he was shot in the face and shoulder by Moat, conspiracy to murder, possession of a firearm with intent to endanger life, and robbing a Seaton Delaval fish and chip shop.

Quram Awan, 23, also denies the attempted murder of Pc Rathband, conspiracy to murder, possession of a firearm with intent to endanger life, and robbing the fish shop.

Mr Smith said Moat had been in regular contact with Ness while he was incarcerated in Durham Prison for assault as he had helped run the gunman’s business.

Ness is then said to have carried out surveillance of Miss Stobbart’s home in Scafell, Birtley, after she told an enraged Moat that she had a new boyfriend.

On the day of his release – July 1, 2010 – he told a barber who was cutting his hair that he had been inside, adding “I have got a few things to do and I’ve got a few arses to kick. I’ll probably be back inside by Friday”.

Ness and Moat are together alleged to have carried out internet searches in order to find out the identity the whereabouts of Mr Brown, whom they discovered worked as a martial arts instructor in the Birtley area.

They later collected a package containing a double-barrelled sawn-off shotgun from a lock-up in Blaydon, which was rented by Awan, of Rowley Street, Blyth.

Awan denies having any knowledge of the contents of the package before it was opened by Moat.

Mr Smith told jurors that Ness’s DNA had been found on a drawstring bag and rounds of ammunition left at the scene of the first shootings in Birtley, which happened shortly before 3am on July 2.

He said both Moat’s and Ness’s mobile phones were, on analysis, found to have been in the vicinity of Scafell at the time.

“This is the clearest evidence that Karl Ness was waiting in the van while Moat made his preparations for the shooting,” Mr Smith said.

He said Moat had hidden under a bay window in the front garden of a neighbour’s house, where Miss Stobbart and Mr Brown had gone after a night out, before he pounced as they left to walk the short distance home.

In a text message sent by Moat, Ness had been told to leave when he heard a bang, the prosecution alleges.

Another text, allegedly sent from Ness to Moat, read: “Well al miss u mate if it goes down,” with Moat replying: “On [sic] problem mate your the best.”

Moat was later seen on CCTV getting into a taxi in Chester-le-Street.

The trial, expected to last up to five weeks, continues.