People in Rothbury have spoken of their anger and disappointment after the ashes of Raoul Moat were scattered by his family in a river near the town, not realising that a dramatic eleventh hour switch had spared their blushes.
The former nightclub bouncer went on the run after shooting his former girlfriend, her new partner - who died - and a police officer. Moat, 37, shot himself in Rothbury, Northumberland, on 10 July after a six-hour stand-off with police.
Thinking his ashes were just a few miles away, local people said the town's hopes for recovery had been set back yet again, but actually, Moat's ashes had been flushed down a toilet hours earlier, saving them the risk of a lone fleck of his dead DNA floating into their eyes or mouths as they strolled in a beauty spot.
Moat's family believed they were scattering Moat's ashes in the River Coquet upstream from Rothbury, but it was actually just some cigarette ash collected outside a local pub, and substituted in the urn by a quick thinking local paedophile who saw the unattended urn left outside a toilet while the owner had a pee. "I was only there to look for kids, but I did my civic duty", he leered.
An urn and photograph believed to have been left at the spot where Moat shot himself were later removed. Chairman of Rothbury Parish Council Peter Dawson said people were "very angry and very disappointed". Then, being told of the switch, he laughed. "Well, that's fine then", he chortled.