TV survival expert Ray Mears was drafted in by police to hunt for fugitive killer Raoul Moat

By Paul Sims
Last updated at 12:06 AM on 22nd July 2010

Celebrity support: It was revealed today that TV star Ray Mears was brought in by police hunting Raoul Moat

Celebrity support: It was revealed today that TV star Ray Mears was brought in by police hunting Raoul Moat

The TV survival expert Ray Mears was drafted in by police to hunt down Raoul Moat, it emerged yesterday.

Mears, 46, was asked to assist armed officers as they closed in on the fugitive during the seven-day manhunt.

He is believed to have helped track Moat's movements after the gunman fled his makeshift camp in the Northumberland countryside.

Mears  -  best known for his BBC series on survival techniques  -  refused to comment yesterday on his involvement during the massive police hunt.

But his presence will undoubtedly raise eyebrows among those who believe police mishandled the investigation.

The revelation came as David Rathband, the police officer shot and blinded by Moat, was yesterday released from hospital  -  and repeated his desire to return to his job.

During the manhunt for his attacker officers from several other forces were enlisted to help, along with two Crackerstyle forensic psychologists.

Forty marksmen from Scotland Yard's elite firearms unit CO19 were also called in, along with helicopters and armoured vehicles from Northern Ireland.

Even an RAF Tornado equipped with infra-red camera equipment  -  routinely used in Afghanistan  -  was deployed.

Mears would not give any details about his role during the search, only to say that he had responded to a request from Northumbria Police.

Going home: David Rathband, the PC blinded by Moat, with his wife Kath yesterday

Going home: David Rathband, the PC blinded by Moat, with his wife Kath yesterday

He is believed to have travelled to the village of Rothbury to help search local woodland before Moat was finally cornered.

OUTRAGE AT FILM PLAN

Plans for a book and a film about the killer sparked outrage yesterday as relatives accused those involved of trying to profit from blood money.

Publishers John Blake have purchased the rights to the gunman's life story whilst film producers are battling it out to dramatise his last stand.

The firm said the book - Raoul Moat: His Short Life and Bloody Death - would recount his 'final steps in what became one of Britain’s biggest police manhunts'.

It confirmed it had bought the rights from author Vanessa Howard for an 'undisclosed sum'.

Sales director Ray Mudie said: 'If we didn’t do this book someone else would publish it. The market is fascinated by what drives these people.'

A publishing source said several film companies had already 'expressed interest' in dramatising the book which will be on sale in seven weeks.

Last night, friends and family of Moat’s victims blasted the decision to publish a book so soon after the event.

Samantha Stobbart’s grandmother Ann Hornsby, 69, said: 'I can’t believe someone wants to make money out of people who have been killed. It’s blood money.

'Haven’t people suffered enough? I don’t know why anyone would want to do that or treat him as a hero.'

Samantha’s half-sister Kelly Stobbart, 27, said: 'It’s a damned disgrace. I want to know who has written this book and if they actually know what they are talking about. It’s sick and disgusting.'

A police spokesman confirmed: 'Ray Mears did assist us in this investigation, as did other various agencies and specialists.'

Mears, who now works for ITV, grew up in the North Downs, East Sussex.

As a boy he wanted to go camping but could not afford the equipment, so he resorted to setting up camp using what he could find nearby.

He began writing books in 1990 and then turned to the small screen in 1993.

He is not the first tracker to be used in a high-profile manhunt.

In 1982 officers searching for police killer Barry Prudom called in former SAS tracker Eddie McGee.

The Independent Police Complaints Commission has begun two separate inquiries into Moat's case.

These will examine his last moments and what police did with intelligence received hours before Moat shot his ex-girlfriend, Samantha Stobbart, 22, and executed her lover, Chris Brown, 29, on July 3.

The intelligence  -  sent by Durham prison after Moat was released from an 18-week sentence for assaulting a child  -  revealed his intention to cause 'serious harm' to his ex-partner and his desire to kill.

Moat later shot PC Rathband, 42, at point-blank-range with a sawn-off shotgun as he sat in his marked car at a roundabout in East Denton, Newcastle.

The officer was discharged from hospital yesterday, 17 days after his ordeal.

He said: 'I'm on the mend.

'My facial injuries have all been sorted by the plastics team at the hospital and it's just a case of allowing my jaw and face and stuff to knit together.

'I have to come back in three to four weeks to have another examination of my left eye just to see if there's something they can salvage from that.'

PC David Rathband
Pc David Rathband

PC David Rathband was critically injured in an unprovoked shooting by Raoul Moat


Killer: A second post-mortem examination on Raoul Moat's body will be held at the request of his brother

Killer: A second post-mortem examination on Raoul Moat's body will be held at the request of his brother

Despite his injuries, he insisted he felt 'good about what's ahead' and was looking forward to 'sleeping in my own bed'.

'It's going to be very difficult and I'm devastated, but I'm not going to dwell on it because if I do then, in my opinion, it will block out all of the things that I need to achieve to get to where I need to be.'

Despite what happened, the father-of-two considered himself 'lucky' to have had sight and 'memories of what I have seen'.

'I'm the lucky one and if I can master the art of walking, whether it be with a white stick or with a guide dog, I'll be no different to anybody else,' he said.

'I'm just a policeman and a person very proud to be a policeman and that's one of the things that keeps me going. I want to get back to a job that I enjoyed doing.'

After a six hour stand-off in Rothbury Moat apparently shot himself in the head.

At the same time two officers fired at him with the XRep Taser, which has not yet been 'type approved' by the Home Office.

His family say the gunshot wound he suffered is not consistent with that of a shotgun. They have since demanded a second post-mortem examination.

A total of 20 people have been arrested in connection with assisting Moat.

Raoul Moat/Samantha Stobbart

Horrendous injuries: Raoul Moat's ex-girlfriend Samantha Stobbart speaks from her hospital bed as she recovers from being shot in the stomach