Tabloid hack fooled by Raoul Moat game spoof

A tabloid journalist working for the UK's Daily Star 'newspaper' has been caught out by a spoof Photoshopped image claiming to be of a Grand Theft Auto game based on gunman Raoul Moat.

It wouldn't have taken unscrupulous hack Jerry Lawton long to work out the amateurishly edited image was a fake before reporting 'news' that a book, Hollywood movie and computer game were all in development - but then, where's the story in that?

In a piece of prose that would warm the cockles of any self-respecting journalist's heart, Lawton's article berated the gaming industry for supposedly immortalising a killer with the improbably titled 'GTA Rothbury', a game based on his week-long shooting spree. But he forgot to check the facts before publishing his article.

In the piece, Lawton quotes the grandmother of Moat's ex-girlfriend Samantha Stobbart, whose partner was killed by the gunman, saying of the non-existent game: "It is sick - it's blood money. The game is beyond belief." Though we can't be sure he didn't make that bit up too.

The article has since been pulled from the Daily Star website, but you can take a peek at a cached snapshot of the page courtesy of Google here.

Lawton himself was unrepentant, railing against those who criticised his poorly researched - not to mention tasteless - 'journalism'. The hack posted a comment to his wall on Facebook, saying:

"These are grown (?!?) men who sit around all day playing computer games with one another who've today chosen to enter the real world just long enough to complain about my story slamming a Raoul Moat version of Grand Theft Auto!"