A coroner has ruled that the precise risk posed by killer Raoul Moat was not known before he shot dead a love rival.
At the conclusion of the inquest into the death of Moat’s victim Chris Brown, Coroner Terence Carney ruled that Mr Brown had been unlawfully killed at the hands of Moat.
But Mr Carney said that although the prison service and Northumbria Police had been aware of Moat’s threat to harm, the exact risk was not clear.
He said: “My finding is that Christopher Brown was unlawfully killed by Raoul Moat, the precise risk he presented not being known.”
During his summary at the end of the inquest, which lasted just over a week at Newcastle Crown Court, Mr Carney highlighted failures by both the prison service and Northumbria Police.
However, he concluded that any failures had not directly caused Mr Brown’s death.
“We got tantalisingly close to a point of the information being actually known as opposed to speculatively known,” he said.
“I am not satisfied that the information we have heard and the information which was available was used appropriately.
“But I am not satisfied that a failure to use that information has directly caused Christopher’s death or indeed contributed to it,” he added.
Mr Brown, 29, was shot dead in Birtley, Gateshead, by Moat just two days after he was released from HMP Durham in July 2010.
Moat, who also critically injured his ex-partner and Mr Brown’s girlfriend Samantha Stobbart, then went on the run shooting and blinding PC David Rathband before the ordeal ended with Moat taking his own life in Rothbury, Northumberland.
During the inquest, evidence was heard of missed opportunities and delays in a Security Information Report containing information about threats Moat made while in prison to “seriously assault” his ex-partner Ms Stobbart being acted on.
On the last day of the inquest Mr Carney praised Mr Brown’s mother Sally Brown for the patience throughout the process. After giving his conclusion Mr Carney added to the family: “I am sorry you have had to fight so hard and so long for what essentially is understandably justice.”
Following the hearing Sally Brown said in a statement: “I want to thank Senior Coroner Mr Carney for allowing me to examine the events leading up to Christopher’s death, and my legal team for helping me do so.
“As I said in my statement to the Coroner, Christopher’s death has been horrendous for the whole of our family, it has been hell. I hope that no one else in the future should have to go through what we have gone through.
“I have listened to the evidence heard in this inquest and Mr Carney’s finding very carefully. I now want to take some time to consider his written finding and grieve with my family.”