Northumbria police today denied that officers were taking part in a taser shootout competition after new pictures emerged of the hours before Raoul Moat's death.
Although Police had revealed that two snatch squads were "two feet" away from Moat at the time he committed suicide by shooting himself in the temple, the revelation that two tasers were fired, along with recent footage appearing on You Tube has put them under further pressure.
They would not comment on a picture taken apparantly 90 minutes before the death showing a police snatchsquad officer standing directly behind Moat with his cheeks puffed out and arms making ape like movements. They also refused to acknowledge a 15 minute video taken by camcorder showing Moat getting more and more agitated as a long branch with feathers stuck on the end is poked out of a nearby bush and tickles the back of his neck before quickly being removed when he turns around irritated.
During the final moments of this video it is also clear someone has attached a target to the back of Moat's jacket complete with reducing coloured rings and a scoring system. Confusion surrounds the moments following this but the Sky News footage released today seems to show that the Police Negoiating team, in the moments before the death, stop negotiating, get their wallets out and seem to put a considerable amount of cash in a "pot" in the front seat of one of the squad cars. There are then two buzzing sounds, a shotgun goes off, Moat collapses and one of the snatch squads emerges from the bushes whooping and cheering.
Inspector Angela Ashcroft of the IPCC, said a full investigation would follow and would leave no stone unturned, "Obviously in these tense moments there is a lot of pressure and a lot of people are acting in fractions of a second" she said today, "however a thorough examination will take place and anyone found to be acting in an improper way will be disciplined accordingly." She added that the fact that her money had been on Snatch Squad Red, who were rumoured to have been the winning taserteam, would have no impact on her findings.