Police say claims by PC Rathband's family 'unjustified'

Northumbria Police's chief constable has rejected criticism of her force from the family of PC David Rathband, who hanged himself 20 months after being blinded by Raoul Moat. A coroner at an inquest into his death today ruled he took his own life.

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David Rathband's charity plans to broaden its scope

The charity set up by David Rathband says it plans to broaden the support it offers to members of the emergency services.

The Blue Lamp Foundation was established to help personnel who are injured in the line of duty.

So far, it has concentrated on helping people with physical injuries.

The Foundation's chairman says it now wants to offer practical support to people coping with emotional trauma and mental health issues.

Peter Sweeney has promised to build on PC Rathband's legacy. Credit: ITV News Tyne Tees

Peter Sweeney said:

"We can't forget the pain and suffering that David suffered personally.

The last thing we want is another member of the emergency services, injured in the line of duty, committing suicide because of the severity of their injuries."


Police say claims by Pc Rathband's family 'unjustified'

Northumbria Police chief constable Sue Sim has rejected criticism of her force from the family of Pc David Rathband who hanged himself 20 months after being shot and blinded by gun maniac Raoul Moat.

Northumbria Police chief constable Sue Sim said the force 'refutes any suggestion' it failed to support Pc Rathband after he was shot. Credit: PA

"There have been criticisms levelled at Northumbria Police during the inquest by some of David's family," she said.

"We fully understand the family's grief at David's death but we must refute any suggestion that we failed to support David or that the support we provided was inadequate.

"Such allegations are totally without justification. We provided the highest level of financial, welfare and rehabilitation support to David, far in excess of any legal duty."

Before the inquest, Mr Rathband's father Keith said his son had been "let down" and his sister Debbie Essery said her family did not accept that the police had no case to answer.

Kath Rathband: Shooting changed our lives 'irrevocably'

Following the conclusion of the inquest into the death of Pc David Rathband, his wife Kath said in a statement that three and a half years ago her family's lives were "changed irrevocably".

Kath Rathband's solicitor reads out a statement to the media on his client's behalf. Credit: ITV News/Debi Edward

In a statement read by her solicitor, she said: "Three and a half years ago, all our lives changed irrevocably. David fought so hard to come to terms with the devastating injuries that resulted from the shooting and the effects it had upon us as a family.

"Whilst I have lost David, he has left me with two amazing children and he would be immensely proud of them and what they are achieving, as am I."

Shooting was 'first step' in events that led to Pc's death

Being shot and blinded by gunman Raoul Moat was the "first step" in the series of events which led to Pc David Rathband killing himself, a coroner ruled today.

The traffic officer who became a national hero grew desperate after the collapse of his marriage and struggled to cope with his sudden and irreversible disability.

Pc David Rathband took his own life, a coroner has ruled. Credit: Press Association

He was found hanging at his home 20 months after he was shot while on duty.

Some friends and members of his family believed Northumbria Police could have done more to support him.

Coroner Eric Armstrong urged none of those involved in the hearing to blame themselves.

And, after concluding Mr Rathband took his own life, he said: "The circumstances of his injuries (inflicted by Moat) are well-known.

"It is difficult, if not impossible, not to view the infliction of those injuries as the first step in a series which culminated in his death."


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Rathband threatened to kill himself on Facetime

PC David Rathband Credit: Owen Humphreys/ PA Wire

The inquest into the death of PC David Rathband has heard that he threatened to kill himself on a video-phone so that his wife could watch.

The officer was left blinded after being shot by Raoul Moat in 2010. He was found hanged at this home in Blyth two years later.

A police family liaison officer today told the hearing at Newcastle's Moot Hall that Rathband's estranged wife had received a call from him, threatening to commit suicide on Facetime.

Pc David Rathband fought 'bravely and courageously'

Hero Pc David Rathband was found dead at his home after an affair with a survivor of the 7/7 bombing effectively ended his marriage, an inquest heard today.

Lisa French leaves Moot Hall in Newcastle after attending the inquest. Credit: Owen Humphreys/PA Wire/Press Association Images

Mr Rathband's wife Kath, who is mother of 21-year-old Ash and Mia, 15, told the hearing her husband had several affairs with women, but his last with Lisa French, a survivor of the London bombing, ended their marriage.

Giving evidence, Ms French told the hearing Mr Rathband had expressed suicidal thoughts to her, but that he did not want to go through with it.

"He fought bravely and courageously for the whole six months that I knew him," she said.

She had been worried about his welfare and had recommended he needed very specialist support to get over the trauma, she said.

The inquest continues.

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Kath Rathband: Affair ended our marriage

David Rathband had an affair with 7/7 survivor Lisa French in the months before he died which effectively ended their marriage, his widow told an inquest into his death.

Mrs Rathband told the inquest the officer could not understand why she would not take him back and rang her up to 100 times a day.

She visited him at his home on the evening he hanged himself and was concerned enough to call his welfare officer, Inspector John Heckles, and to text his sister in Staffordshire.

But, despite her fears, she did not consider he was going to kill himself, Kath Rathband told the hearing.

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