Moat Tasers Not Effective

Unauthorised shotgun Tasers used by police in the stand-off with killer Raoul Moat in Northumberland were not an effective non-lethal weapon, a Home Office expert has told an inquest.

The hearing at Newcastle Crown Court was told that in testing ``more often than not'' the X-Rep cartridges did not achieve their purpose of incapacitating the target.

Officers fired twice at Moat as he prepared to kill himself with the sawn-off shotgun he had already used to shoot his ex-girlfriend Samantha Stobbart, her new partner Chris Brown and PC David Rathband.

The inquest has heard that police fired the X12 Tasers - which were licensed only for testing - because standard X26 handheld Tasers did not have the necessary range.

Graham Smith, a Home Office physicist who advised the Association of Chief Police Officers on weapons, explained to the jury how the X12 shotguns fire X-Rep cartridges at a speed of 18 metres per second.

The idea is that the projectile's nose sticks into the target's torso, and if he then grabs trailing wires to pull it out, an electrical circuit is made, causing incapacitation.

But tests showed that the secondary contact with skin, required to complete the circuit often did not happen.

Newcastle Coroner David Mitford asked if the witness considered it an effective non-lethal weapon. Mr Smith replied: ``I think conceptually it could be but in its current configuration I don't think it is.''

Mr Smith said ``more often than not'', it did not incapacitate.

He agreed that there were few alternatives available to police given Moat was 10 metres away, sitting down and pointing a shotgun at his head during the stand-off in Rothbury, Northumberland.

 The inquest continues.