Accomplice of gunman Moat jailed for 20 years

Qhuram Awan.

Qhuram Awan.

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THE Blyth henchman of gunman Raoul Moat was jailed for life on Tuesday after being found guilty of playing a crucial part in the killer’s gun rampage last summer.

Qhuram Awan, 23, of Rowley Street, will not be eligible to apply for parole for 20 years after being locked up for helping Moat to shoot Cramlington Pc David Rathband, leaving him blinded for life, and conspiring to murder further police officers in July last year.

Awan’s co-defendant, Karl Ness, of Dudley, was told he will spend a minimum of 40 years behind bars.

Outside court, Pc Rathband, pictured, branded the two conspirators “evil” and Moat a coward.

He said: “These two individuals, along with the other coward who wasn’t man enough to stay here, have taken my job from me.”

Moat was out for revenge after he heard that his ex-girlfriend Samantha Stobbart was seeing a new man. He asked his friend Ness to spy on her while he was still in prison and the day after his release, the pair went looking for her new lover, karate instructor Chris Brown.

The steroid abuser was convinced Mr Brown was a policeman and 24 hours later he rang Northumbria Police to say he was “hunting for officers”.

Ness and Awan later helped Moat set up a woodland camp near Rothbury and went shopping for supplies for him.

Ness was convicted of murdering Mr Brown in Gateshead and a firearms offence. Both men were convicted of conspiracy to murder, attempted murder and robbing a chip shop that Moat held up the day after he shot Pc Rathband in Newcastle.

Judge Richard McCombe said: “While the offences may not have been committed without Moat, it is difficult to see that they could have been committed in the manner they were without Ness and Awan.”

Outside court, Detective Superintendent Jim Napier said: “We welcome these sentences, which reflect the severity of the crimes Ness and Awan were involved in.

“Both men now have a long time in which to reflect on their cowardly actions, which left one man dead, two people seriously injured and countless others traumatised.

“Throughout that week last July, both men had numerous opportunities to stop these unfolding events and prevent people being killed and injured. However neither took any responsibility for their actions.

“Our thoughts remain with the families of all those who have been killed or injured as a result of the actions of these men.”