Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Minister Has Praise for Village's Spirit; Strong Sense of Community Helps Rothbury's Recovery

Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Minister Has Praise for Village's Spirit; Strong Sense of Community Helps Rothbury's Recovery

Article excerpt

Byline: Laura Caroe

ROTHBURY'S recovery after it became the centre of Britain's biggest manhunt has been praised by a Home Office minister.

The Northumberland village was seen by people from across the globe as police desperately searched the area for gunman-on-the-run Raoul Moat.

It was there the 37-year-old former bouncer ended his life after a six-hour stand off with armed police on the riverbanks.

James Brokenshire, crime prevention minister, spoke to families in the rural village as well as neighbourhood police officers involved in the hunt.

The MP for Old Bexley and Sidcup said he was extremely impressed by the community spirit and how they are determined to get life back to normal.

He also visited PC David Rathband in hospital where he continues to receive treatment for horrific injuries suffered when the gunman attacked him in his patrol car.

Mr Brokenshire said: "My visit was very much to recognise the tremendous work that has gone on here by the community and police in hugely exceptional circumstances.

What struck me was the really strong sense of community and that fact we had the police, public and several agencies working together so closely. "I wanted to come up here and see the challenges people have had to face during this operation.

"The community have supported the police in every way. They have shown so much spirit while the whole world has put a spotlight on a small community. It is extraordinary, we need to pay a huge tribute to the people for what they have done.

"It is apparent that recent events have not diminished the community and in fact in many ways it has strengthened."

Concerns mounted after Moat's death, when thousands of people commented on websites dedicated to him. Words like "hero" and "legend" were used to describe the man who killed one person and badly injured two others.

Mr Brokenshire described the outburst of worship as "perverse" and said he didn't understand why people were celebrating Moat and his actions.

He said: "Raoul Moat is no folk hero and is not a celebrity. The people we should be remembering are those who have been the victims, the victims of a person who was a callous cold-blooded murderer. …

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