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Rathband family's plea for justice

Published 04/07/2015

David Rathband was blinded in the attack by gunman Raoul Moat
David Rathband was blinded in the attack by gunman Raoul Moat

Five years since gunman Raoul Moat ran amok, the family of the police officer he shot and blinded were still waiting for justice, his grieving twin brother has said.

On July 4 2010 Pc David Rathband was finishing his shift in a marked patrol car when he was blasted twice by the shotgun-wielding maniac who had declared war on police minutes before.

He clung on for life but lost the sight in both eyes after being peppered with hundreds of shotgun pellets in the face.

Pc Rathband, a traffic officer who loved his job, poured himself into starting the Blue Lamp Foundation to help injured 999 workers, wrote a book about his experiences and became a national figure.

But his marriage ended and his life fell apart as he struggled to cope with the devastating consequences of losing his sight in such a traumatic way.

The 44-year-old father-of Ash and Mia killed himself at his home in Blyth, Northumberland, in February 2012.

Family members are in the process of taking legal action against his employer, and his twin Darren said they were still "fighting for acknowledgement that David was let down".

It has previously been said that the force did not do enough to warn staff that Moat had told a 999 call handler he was hunting for officers on the night Pc Rathband was shot.

Northumbria Police said the case will go to court in the New Year.

Darren, who lives in Australia, said on the anniversary: "As a family we obviously reflect on past events that had such a tragic outcome for David.

"It means we understand more than most, the risks the emergency services, especially police, are asked to face on a daily basis.

"The current dangers officers face with the increase of terrorist acts is something very pertinent following the recent tragic events in Tunisia, France and Kuwait.

"Sadly, David will not be the last police officer injured in the line of duty, three officers have been shot and numerous have been hurt in the UK since 2010.

"David like so many other people was just doing his job, as an unarmed traffic officer he was single crewed and no threat to anyone.

"Yet he was left fighting for his life, and his independence was taken that day by a coward.

"Since David lost his sight he continued to battle with his injuries and was left to fight for simple things like a walking cane, specialist counselling and eventually his marriage.

"Although the 4th of July is an important date, for us the significant anniversary is the day David left us and we lost a very special man.

"In his darkest moment David set up a charity to help others and this should be his lasting legacy.

"We should be focusing on that at this time and remembering why it was created; to benefit emergency service workers injured in the line of duty as David wished."

Moat was wanted having shot his ex-girlfriend Samantha Stobbart and murdered her new love Chris Brown in Birtley, Gateshead, the night before.

After leaving Pc Rathband for dead on a roundabout above the A1 in Newcastle, he hid in Rothbury, Northumberland, for days sparking the biggest police manhunt for years.

He was finally cornered and shot himself during a stand-off in the early hours of July 10, as the media closely followed events from behind the police cordon.

Famously, footballer Paul Gascoigne turned up in Rothbury trying to help the situation, claiming he knew the ex-bouncer.

Moat's accomplices Karl Ness and Qhuram Awan were jailed for a minimum of 40 and 20 years respectively in 2012.

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