Belfast Telegraph

Monday 22 December 2014

Officer shot by Moat 'played dead'

PC David Rathband, pictured with wife Katherine, said he 'played dead' after being shot by Raoul Moat
PC David Rathband, pictured with wife Katherine, said he 'played dead' after being shot by Raoul Moat

Pc David Rathband, who was blinded by crazed gunman Raoul Moat, told a court that he played dead after being shot twice.

The unarmed officer was shot through the window of his marked police T5 Volvo after he parked it at the junction of the A1 and A69 last July.

Pc Rathband told Newcastle Crown Court: "As I lay in the car, I realised I just had to lie there and literally play dead because it was quite clear Moat wanted me dead."

Pc Rathband was giving evidence in the trial of two men accused of helping the gunman during his bloody rampage. Karl Ness, 26, and Qhuram Awan, 23, deny plotting to murder, attempted murder, robbery and having a gun. Ness also denies the murder of karate instructor Chris Brown.

Carrying a white stick, Pc David Rathband arrived at Newcastle Crown Court wearing his immaculately pressed full police uniform for the first time in public since he was shot by Moat in July last year. Scars from the devastating shotgun injuries inflicted upon him by Moat, 37, were still visible on his face.

Pc Rathband, 42, was blinded by Moat after the former doorman declared war on Northumbria Police. The officer was shot twice in the face as he sat in his patrol car on a roundabout in the west end of Newcastle. The killer had armed himself with a double-barrelled sawn-off shotgun.

Moat killed himself during a stand-off with police in Rothbury, Northumberland, after going on the run, having shot Mr Brown and Pc Rathband.

"He shot me in the middle of my eyes and the second shot was to finish me off," Pc Rathband told the jury.

"So I tried to stop myself breathing because I was making lots of rasping noises because of the amount of blood that was spraying out and that was going down my throat. It felt like a lifetime but in reality it was probably a few seconds."

Though badly injured, he managed to raise the alarm using a microphone on the gear stick of his patrol car. "I said 'I've been shot, I need urgent assistance'," he recalled.

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