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Raoul Moat said he would ``take the shoot-out'' rather than go back to jail.
The gunman was on the run from police following the shootings of karate instructor Chris Brown, his ex-girlfriend Samantha Stobbart and Pc David Rathband when he made the vow.
It was part of a message recorded by the gunman on a dictating machine three or four days before he was cornered by armed officers in Rothbury, Northumberland.
In the message, the 37-year-old said he had lost the only two people who mattered to him - his grandmother and Miss Stobbart.
He said if he returned to jail he would have ``nothing to come out to'' and that a shoot-out would mean ``everybody's happy''.
The message was read out to the inquest at Newcastle Crown Court by Superintendent Jim Napier, the Northumbria Police officer in charge of the criminal investigation into Moat's rampage.
He told John Beggs, cross-examining for Northumbria Police, that the recordings revealed Moat considered himself to have lost the only two adults he cared about.
In the message, Moat said: ``If I went to jail now, I could hack it because I have lost everything and I have nothing to come out to.
``I have come out and got my vengeance.
``I have set Sam up for life, financially at least.
``But it is not really what I want.
``It would be a waste of a life and a waste of the taxpayer's money.
``Just take the shoot-out and everybody's happy.''
Mr Napier said he took the message as an indication that Moat was contemplating provoking a shoot-out with police.
He said this knowledge informed the police reation to the gunman when he was cornered.
Nowhere in the messages was there any mention of Moat's ``estranged'' family - specifically his tax inspector brother Angus or uncle Charlie Alexander, a former artilleryman, both of whom were at the inquest today.
Barristers for the Moat family, the chief constable of Northumbria Police, West Yorkshire Police officers, and Pro-Tec Limited, the firm that supplied new shotgun Taser weapons, were in court.
The inquest, which is expected to last five weeks, will focus on the events in Rothbury on July 9 and 10 when Moat was found, the coroner said.
There will be questions about weapons used, how police managed the incident, how officers dealt with the dead man and how he acted, the jury was told.