Though we wouldn’t know it until we saw the headlines in the paper when we arrived in Edinburgh (the paper is here in my archives somewhere), we had just spent the night sleeping with a killer on the loose in our midst. Our decision to travel north alongside the ocean had brought us to a nights rest not far from Rothbury, England.
We stopped out of pure exhaustion. Our hope was to make it all the way to Edinburgh, but we found our road weariness entirely prevented that goal.
Normally when we stopped, we would simply roll into the turn out, recline our seats and try our best to sleep. This night was different.
We pulled in to the entirely empty parking lot, both feeling very creeped out. We sat stiff upright for at least 20 minutes, discussed if we could go further toward our goal, decided we couldn’t, paced outside the car for a bit, felt unsafe, covered our belongings in the back and locked all of the doors.
Both of us ‘awoke’ (though neither of us truly slept) at about 2am, to noises that sounded humanly scary enough (violent male shouting) that we both decided to keep our heads down, thinking (hoping) that with whatever was going on, maybe our car looked empty which would keep us out of the line of confrontation.
We arose at daybreak (read as: we were too scared to move until it was light out), and drove the rest of the way to Edinburgh in a strange state of trepidation, feeling like something very negative had happened during our fitful ‘sleep’.
Something had happened in that parking lot and the adjacent forest, in the terrible darkness.
The newspaper headlines? A killer named Roan Moat (or Raoul Moat, depending on which paper you read), had shot his ex girlfriend in the head (she survived), killed her new boyfriend, and shot an officer (who survived as well, if I am not mistaken), also in the head.
Then he took off into the woods surrounding his neighbourhood – which happened to be where our turnout was.
He had a couple of friends helping him at one point or another, and the police were trying to find him as well.
I am not sure which of the parties were at our site (because we were too chicken to find out), but certainly at least one of them was.
Eventually he was cornered and took his own life. A tragic story that we found ourselves uncomfortably in the middle of. I still think of the families of the victims.
Called ‘England’s biggest manhunt’ at the time, our disturbing evening with ‘Raoul/Roan Moat’ would actually be overshadowed (in a very different, but fear based way) by the incredibly spooky evening we were about to have in Edinburgh…