British police have launched a huge manhunt for a man suspected of shooting his ex-girlfriend, killing her new partner then gunning down a police officer. Raoul Thomas Moat, 37, allegedly shot his former partner and her new boyfriend early on Saturday in Birtley, northeast England, police said. The boyfriend died and the ex-girlfriend is in a critical condition in hospital. Less than 24 hours later, detectives believe he shot and critically injured a police officer in the nearby city of Newcastle.
The suspected gunman was released from prison on Thursday after serving a short sentence for assault, and police said he believed his ex-girlfriend had been having an affair with a police officer. But they said her new boyfriend had no links to the local police force. Police have launched a big search to track down Moat, who was still at large two days after the first shootings. Moat had contacted police around the time of the third shooting to complain he was not being taken seriously.
Detective chief superintendent Neil Adamson urged Moat: "This must stop now." "You have told us that the police are not taking you seriously. We are," he said."I want you to know that you have our full attention, innocent people have been hurt." The shootings came about a month after a taxi driver went on a killing spree through villages in northwest England, shooting dead 12 people. * AFP