The twin brother of Pc David Rathband has said life without his “shadow” is empty, as he paid tribute on the 10th anniversary of the officer’s shooting by Raoul Moat.
The unarmed traffic policeman was blasted in his patrol car by the crazed gunman – already on the run for shooting his ex-partner and murdering her new lover – and was left totally blind.
Less than two years later, the father-of-two took his own life at his home in Blyth, Northumberland.
His twin, Darren, who emigrated to Australia to work as a police officer, said in a statement: “Anniversaries for those who grieve are nothing special.
“Each day without David is still extremely difficult.
“Living a life without my own shadow is extremely empty.
“David will never be forgotten.”
In the early hours of July 3 2010, spurned former bouncer Moat shot his ex-partner Samantha Stobbart in the stomach and murdered her new lover, Chris Brown, with a blast of his shotgun.
Just after midnight the next day, the fugitive dialled 999 to warn police he was hunting for officers.
Moat spotted Pc Rathband parked up in a patrol car on a roundabout on the outskirts of Newcastle, crept up beside the vehicle and blasted him in the face.
Moat, aided by two accomplices, hid in Rothbury, Northumberland, where he remained at large while the country’s biggest manhunt was mounted, with armed police drafted in from around the country, expertise from survival expert Ray Mears, and RAF jets with heat-seeking cameras.
The thug was eventually cornered by armed police and he shot himself in the head while negotiators tried to get him to put down his weapon.
Pc Rathband set up the Blue Lamp Foundation to assist other 999 workers who were injured in the line of duty.
He took his own life in February 2012.
The Chief Constable of Northumbria Police, Winton Keenen, marked the anniversary by expressing his condolences to the friends and families of Moat’s victims.
He said: “First and foremost, our thoughts are still very much with those most affected by what took place 10 years ago, especially the victims and their families.
“We particularly remember Chris Brown, who sadly lost his life in the cowardly, unprovoked attack, as well as his partner Samantha Stobbart who thankfully survived her injuries – our thoughts remain with their families, friends and loved ones.
“It is also right to recognise the sacrifice made by PC David Rathband who was shot and blinded during the incident, as he went about his duties in the same way his colleagues continue to do today, day-in, day-out, in pursuit of protecting and serving our communities.
“Whilst it is appropriate to recognise that events of this magnitude are thankfully rare across our region, the anniversary of this tragic series of events will undoubtedly add to the ongoing feelings of loss and frustration by those involved and we should all pause to think of them and others who find themselves in similar circumstances.”