A McDONALD’S ice cream saved a police officer in Ashington from becoming a victim of gunman Raoul Moat.
A jury in the trial of Moat’s alleged associates, Karl Ness and Quram Awan, heard how the trio were sitting in a car outside the fast food chain’s Lintonville Parkway restaurant just hours after Moat shot Pc David Rathband on July 4 last year.
Robert Smith QC, prosecuting at Newcastle Crown Court, said Awan had spotted a police car drive past.
Mr Smith said: “Moat was deliberating whether to shoot a police officer but he decided against it as he was too busy eating his ice cream.”
The jury had previously heard how Moat had wounded his former girlfriend Samantha Stobbart and shot dead her new partner Chris Brown, who he believed to be a police officer, in the early hours of July 3.
Mr Smith said that after Ness heard the shots of Moat’s attack on Miss Stobbart and Mr Brown shortly before 3am, he drove back to Moat’s home in Fenham Hall Drive, which he was seen entering on the gunman’s own CCTV system.
Five minutes later he left to drive to a garage in Albion Road, Byker, where Awan was employed. He then dumped the van before being picked up by Awan in a black Lexus.
Moat then arrived at the home of Ness’ girlfriend in Lemington and the trio, consisting of Ness, Awan and Moat, were then to spend the following three days on the run together, the prosecution claim.
In the meantime, Mr Brown had been pronounced dead from gunshot wounds to his neck, chest and head.
Miss Stobbart had been taken to hospital, where she had emergency surgery after a single shot went through her left arm and into the left side of her body.
Moat, Awan and Ness are then said to have headed north on the A1 after picking up various supplies on the way. They eventually set up camp near Rothbury at around 6am.
They were spotted on CCTV in various retail premises in Alnwick and Rothbury.
The prosecution then say Awan drove to Newcastle alone to buy a portable television so that Moat could follow the hunt for him.
However, on being unsuccessful, Awan eventually picked up an FM radio at Asda in Ashington.
That night, Ness and Awan drove to Blyth to return the keys to the white van to its owner.
Ness and Awan are then said to have delivered letters to family members, telling them they were being held hostage by Moat, but warned them not to tell the police.
The jury heard how this was the first set of letters from the two.
The second were delivered after Pc Rathband was shot.
Mr Smith said the prosecution’s case is that Awan and Ness had “every opportunity” to hand themselves over to police and alert them to the whereabouts of Moat.
He said that later that evening, the pair provided “deliberate and intentional support” to Moat in locating a police officer.
“Awan was driving and Ness lent his encouragement to Moat on July 4 in his search for police officers to shoot and kill,” Mr Smith said.
Moat made a phone call to Northumbria Police at 12.29am, just two minutes before Pc Rathband was shot as he sat in his patrol car on the A1 / A69 roundabout in the west end of Newcastle.
In the call, he told them that he was about to shoot a police officer, before saying: “You will get your chance to kill us. I’m going to give you the chance for I am hunting for officers now.”
Mr Smith added: “At 12.31am the prosecution say the three men were successful in locating a police officer for Moat to shoot. That was Pc David Rathband.
“Raoul Moat got out with the gun and made his way up the slip road. Pc Rathband was aware of someone approaching and then saw a figure running towards him.
“He recognised Moat immediately from the picture he had looked at on the police system when he began his shift.
“The next thing Pc Rathband saw was the barrel of the gun. He then saw a bright flash from the gun.
“The first shot struck Pc Rathband in the head and despite that injury and significant blood loss he managed to open the driver’s door of the traffic car and made an attempt to reach the emergency dial on his radio.
“When Moat saw he was not dead, he shot him again, this time in his left shoulder.
“He realised that Moat intended to kill him and had the foresight to remain still to give Moat the impression that he was dead.”
Pc Rathband managed to activate the speaker on his radio and alert colleagues that he had been shot.
His car was located almost immediately by the vehicle’s GPS system and he was taken to hospital fighting for his life.
A witness described seeing Moat running back to the Lexus, which sped away north on the A1 with its tyres screeching.
Mr Smith said: “Ness and Awan had waited for Moat to carry out the shooting with the engine of the Lexus running to facilitate a quick getaway.
“It drove off at speed from the traffic car in which Pc Rathband lay seriously injured and blinded for life.”
The trio returned to Rothbury and Awan was then seen on CCTV picking up more supplies in various shops in Alnwick.
That evening, the black Lexus was seen on CCTV in Astley Road, Seaton Delaval, shortly before Moat stormed into the Delaval Fish Bar with a gun and disappeared with £100 in cash.
It was with the money from the robbery that the three associates ordered three meals and three McFlurries from McDonald’s in Ashington shortly afterwards.
On July 6, the black Lexus was seized by police and Awan and Ness were arrested after being spotted by a police helicopter.
Karl Ness, 26, of Brookside, Dudley, denies the murder of Chris Brown, the attempted murder of Pc David Rathband, conspiracy to murder, possession of a firearm with intent to endanger life, and robbing the fish and chip shop.
Quram Awan, 23, of Rowley Street, Blyth, 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.
The trial continues.