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Facebook fan page for dead killer disappears

Facebook Fan page for dead killer removed after drawing criticism from British prime minister.
/ Source: The Associated Press

A Facebook Fan page for a dead gunman that drew criticism from Britain's prime minister has been removed — but Facebook says it didn't do it.

Raoul Moat sparked a huge manhunt after he shot his ex-girlfriend, killed her lover and wounded a policeman. After a week on the run, he took his own life last week after being cornered by police.

A Facebook page entitled "R.I.P. Raoul Moat You Legend" attracted 38,000 fans and many comments praising the killer.

The Fan page disappeared Thursday. It was not known who removed it. Facebook earlier Thursday rebuffed calls by a U.K politician to take the site down.

U.K. Prime Minister David Cameron said he couldn't understand how there could be any sympathy for "a callous murderer."

"I cannot understand any wave, however small, of public sympathy for this man," Cameron said in the House of Commons on Wednesday. "It is absolutely clear that Raoul Moat was a callous murderer — full stop, end of story."

Moat's Facebook page was a memorial page for the 37-year-old former bouncer, which attracted scores of enthusiastic tributes — and plenty of outrage from politicians over the killer's adulation.

Moat sparked one of Britain's biggest police manhunts and a media frenzy after his shooting attacks in northeast England. While on the run he "declared war" on police and vowed "I won't stop until I'm dead."

He was cornered on a riverbank in a hours-long standoff with police that was carried live on TV. He then apparently shot himself. Police acknowledged firing stun guns at Moat in the final minutes and the police watchdog is investigating his death.

Dozens of bouquets and cards were left at the spot where Moat died, many by strangers.

Many more wrote tributes on the Facebook page. The comments range from angry to obscene to apparently heartfelt. Fans have declared Moat is "one of the few remaining reasons Britain is still great," say that "love got the better of you" and praise him for being someone who "would rather die like a soldier than live like a coward."

Some accused the police of persecuting Moat. Others blame his ex-girlfriend, whom he shot and seriously wounded.

The page was not entirely pro-Moat — some posters condemned both the killer and his Facebook fans.