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The ‘chilling’ moment a dogwalker came face to face with wanted killer Raoul Moat has been recreated for an ITV true crime series about the week-long manhunt for the convicted criminal.
Duncan Elson, 63, was out walking his dogs when he encountered Raoul, who he claims returned his a tennis ball to him and said ‘good evening’ while he was out in Pauperhaugh, a hamlet close to Rothbury, Northumberland.
At the time Moat had evaded capture from officers after shooting his ex-girlfriend Sam Stobbart, then 22, and killing her new partner Chris Brown, 29, in early July 2010.
Chance encounter: The ‘chilling’ moment a dogwalker came face to face with wanted killer Raoul Moat has been recreated for a ITV true crime series about the week-long manhunt for the convicted criminal (pictured)
New images from filming in Yorkshire show Moat handing Mr Elson his dogs’ ball while one of his boarder collie’s looked on. The actor playing the villager wore a wax jacket, jeans Wellington boots and a flat cap.
Moat, who is being played by Matt Stokoe, was sporting his recognisable mohican hair style and a black hooded jacket with Adidas original tracksuit bottoms.
The handle of a shotgun was seen clearly in Moat’s hand being concealed inside a carrier bag. During a later scene, armed police were seen clearing members of the public away from the area.
Mr Elson, who remained unharmed during his chance meeting with the murderer, was walking his dogs in the Northumberland tourist spot when he saw three men walking directly towards him.
Too close for comfort: Duncan Elson, 63, was out walking his dogs when he encountered Raoul, who he claims returned his a tennis ball to him and said ‘good evening’ while he was out in Pauperhaugh, a hamlet close to Rothbury, Northumberland
On the run: At the time Moat had evaded capture from officers after shooting his ex-girlfriend Sam Stobbart, then 22, and killing her new partner Chris Brown, 29, in early July 2010
In 2010 Mr Elson recalled how he had spotted Moat – who was joined by two younger companion at the time – during the dog walk and how the killer petted his two dogs Taz and Lucy.
After their meeting, Mr Elson immediately called the police to report his sighting of Moat. He said at the time: ‘It was when he finished petting my dogs and spoke to me that the hair stood up on the back of my neck.’
Historic: The search for Raoul Moat (pictured) was one of the biggest manhunts in British history
‘It was when he said “Good evening, sir” that the thought instantly jumped into my mind that he was an ex-convict, because he was talking to me like I was a prison officer or authority figure.’
Mr Elson claimed that during the walk he spotted the Lexus saloon police had previously flagged as being Moat’s vehicle, which was parked by an industrial estate in the area.
He said: ‘When I saw him I didn’t think it was him because we were all told that he was alone, whereas this man was with two men,’ said Mr Elson. ‘It was only when I saw the Lexus that the penny dropped and I remembered that chilling feeling I had the previous night. I got straight on to the police.’
Mr Elson said that Moat did not seem like a man on the run and appeared ‘very relaxed’, not at all fitting the description of a ‘madman’ evading capture.
He added: ‘I realised just how close I’d come to him when I told police about the car and they dashed to the scene.’
During his rampage, Moat permanently blinded police officer David Rathband with the same sawn-off shotgun used on his earlier victims. PC Rathband took his own life two years after the trauma.
Moat became the subject of the largest week-long manhunt the country had seen in 44 years before a six-hour stand-off with armed police ended with the former nightclub bouncer shooting himself.
Filming: Moat became the subject of the largest week-long manhunt the country had seen in 44 years before a six-hour stand-off with armed police ended with the former nightclub bouncer shooting himself (Matt Stokoe as Moat)
The moment the crazed gunman blasted himself in the head with a sawn-off shotgun has also already been filmed for the new drama.
Last month, Matt was filmed kneeling on the grass with the weapon under his chin in chilling scenes showing the killer’s final hours before he took his own life.
Matt was seen on his knees, holding a sawn off shotgun to his chin, while armed officers surrounded him, repeatedly asking him to drop his weapon.
Recreation: The moment the crazed gunman blasted himself in the head with a sawn-off shotgun has also already been filmed for the new drama
Terrifying: Video grab shows murderer Raoul Moat lying on the riverbank in Rothbury with a shotgun point to his head
The drama has been criticised by relatives of some of his victims – with the sister and brother of PC Rathband both angry at ITV for making a show of the infamous stand-off.
PC Rathband’s sister Debbie Essery, 59, fumed: ‘The first I knew of the programme was when I read it in the news. It came as such a big shock my blood literally ran cold.
‘No one from ITV consulted any of our family or that of Chris Brown to say they were filming the drama. It would have been common decency to tell us.
Harrowing: Sister of hero PC David Rathband, Debbie Essery, pictured centre in 2014, told MailOnline she was stunned to learn the week-long stand of one of Britain’s most-notorious killers was being filmed for the series
‘Other broadcasters who have made programmes about the siege have always given us prior warning. We know we can’t stop things like this but the families of all those involved should have been told. I had no clue.
‘We as a family went through the most horrific time so why make a tv show out of it. All it does is open old wounds and what for – just to make ITV more millions?
‘Please let my brother David and Chris Brown rest in peace and think of their families who still have to deal with the loss of their loved ones twelve years later.’
Stand-off: Police officers negotiate with fugitive Raoul Moat shortly before his death in Rothbury, West Yorkshire
PC Rathband hanged himself after he was blinded by Moat, unable to cope with his new disability and a breakdown in his marriage, a coroner ruled. He was found dead at home in Blyth, Northumberland, in February 2012 – 20 months after Moat shot him in the face.
PC Rathband’s twin brother Darren Rathband, 54, said he will not watch a new drama, remarking: ‘David loss gives us a painful reminder everyday. If it’s based on facts and not fiction, the story remains the same.
‘I don’t watch them, don’t need to and never will. I sadly lived being involved in it.’
Screenwriter Kevin Sampson has defended his drama saying: ‘In 2022, violence against women remains rife and is all too often accompanied by a victim-blaming agenda. I hope this drama will go some way to condemning this narrative.’
Victims: Moat had evaded capture from the police after shooting his ex-girlfriend Sam Stobbart, then 22, and killing her new partner Chris Brown (pictured), 29, in early July 2010
Tragic: Two of Moat’s three victims: Ex-girlfriend Samantha Stobbart (left), then 22, who was hospitalised in the shooting and police officer David Rathband (right), who was permanently blinded in the attack
Prior to his two-day rampage, Moat, then 37, was released from Durham Prison in following an 18-week sentence for assault.
Two days later he targeted his former girlfriend and her new partner, who he believed was a police officer, and gathered up materials he planned to use during his murderous spree, including a sawn-off shotgun.
Having laid in wait outside Samantha’s house, he heard her and Chris Brown, actually a karate instructor, talking about him.
Awful: During the programme, Chris Brown’s mother Sally (above) recalls the devastating moment police arrived to tell her that her son was dead
Tributes: Flowers on the grave of Chris Brown from his sister. Prior to his two-day rampage, Moat, then 37, was released from Durham Prison in following an 18-week sentence for assault
When they left, he shot Chris dead, before firing at and injuring Samantha through the window of the house they were in, as she fled in terror.
During the programme, Chris’ mother Sally recalls the devastating moment police arrived to tell her that her son was dead.
She says: ‘As they’ve got out the car, we said, ‘Oh, God, you know, someone’s in trouble’. Then they’ve come over to us and asked for me. Well, that was it. That’s when the ground opened, basically.’
Moat went on the run after the shootings, surfacing when he shot Pc David Rathband in his car nearly 24 hours later, before disappearing again.
Evidence police found at a campsite on the outskirts of Rothbury, where Moat had been staying, included a dictaphone containing threats to police officers as well as to the pubic.
He evaded officers’ clutches until he suddenly appeared from the woods, lying in the long grass, with a gun pointed at his head, leading to a six-hour siege.
During the situation, Newcastle football legend Paul Gascoigne arrived at the police cordon to see if he could offer his help, but was sent away.
As the hours wore on, officers became aware the evening was likely to result in a grisly climax.
Assistant chief constable David Hartley, from South Yorkshire Police, who was brought in to assist, says officers tried to use long-range stun guns to prevent him shooting himself.
‘He moved the gun from under his chin to his temple and began talking in final words,’ the officer recalls.
‘And that was the tipping point to say, right, we need to try and save his life now. He put the gun to his head, he was about to shoot. There is no time.’
If you have been affected by this story, you can call the Samaritans on 116 123 or visit www.samaritans.org.
Timeline of Raoul Moat’s shooting spree that sparked a huge manhunt 10 years ago
Thursday, July 1: Moat is released from Durham prison after serving 18 weeks for assault
Friday, July 2: Prison staff warn police Moat may want to harm Samantha Stobbart
Saturday, July 3: Moat shoots dead Miss Stobbart’s new boyfriend Chris Brown outside her home in Birtley, Gateshead and also injures her. Manhunt is launched for Moat
Sunday, July 4: Pc David Rathband is shot in his patrol car and critically injured. Moat rings officers claiming Miss Stobbart was having an affair with a police officer
Monday, July 5: Manhunt for Moat continues
Tuesday, July 6: Moat’s car is discovered in Rothbury, Northumberland and police flood the area setting up a two-mile exclusion zone. A letter written by Moat reveals his intentions to declare war on the police
Wednesday, July 7: Officers find a tent where Moat had been sleeping and another letter from him
Thursday, July 8: Police say Moat had made threats to the general public and two men were arrested on suspicion of assisting an offender and bailed
Friday, July 9: At 7pm Moat comes out from his hiding place and reporters watch as he lies on the ground with a gun threatening to kill himself. Police try to negotiate with him for six hours
Saturday, July 10: A gunshot is heard at 1.10am and Moat is declared dead after being rushed to hospital. Police said Moat appeared to have killed himself