PC David Rathband Inquest

And inquest into the death of PC David Rathband is taking place

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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."


Wife of PC Rathband issues statement

The wife of PC David Rathband has issued a statement following an inquest into her husband's death.

Kath Rathband said:

"Three-and-a-half years ago all of our lives changed irrevocably.

"David fought so hard to come to terms with the devastating injuries that resulted from the shooting and the effect it had on us all 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 have achieved, as I am.

"He would also be proud of the continued work of the Blue Lamp Foundation, the charity that David started so that he and other people injured in the line of duty could seek help.

"I know that David would be delighted with what has been achieved to date and this will remain his lasting legacy.

"Many thanks goes to all those involved. I am honoured to be a patron of the charity and look forward to continuing the work that David began.

"It has been an immensely difficult few years for us all now that the inquest has been concluded I would like to ask for privacy for Ashley, Mia and myself so we can look to rebuild our lives while remembering David and all that he meant to us."

– Statement from Kath Rathband

Chief Constable insists Rathband was given police support

The Chief Constable of Northumbria Police has refuted claims that PC David Rathband was not given enough support at the time of his death.

In a statement, Sue Sim said:

"After considering all the evidence HM Coroner Mr Armstrong is satisfied that David took his own life. HM Coroner did not criticise any individual or organisation.

"David suffered life changing injuries at the hands of Raoul Moat when he was shot while out on patrol on July 4, 2010. He faced these challenges with bravery and courage, and it was his wish that he return to work as a serving police officer.

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

"At the time of his death, David was a serving police officer. I exercised my discretion to retain him on full pay following his injury.

"However, the force can only offer such support - it was entirely David's decision whether or not to accept it. He was often very busy with other commitments such that he failed to attend scheduled appointments.

"At all times, we treated David with compassion. We are confident that we did everything we could in these exceptional circumstances to support David financially, medically and in every other way possible.

"David was a valued and skilled officer. We all repeat our deep sadness at his death."

– Sue Sim, Chief Constable at Northumbria Police

Court hears of affairs that ended Rathband marriage

During the three-day inquest into the death of Pc David Rathband, at Newcastle's Moot Hall, the court heard of his affairs, one with 7/7 London bombing survivor Lisa French.

Mrs Rathband told David Rathband the marriage was over prior to him going to Australia with his identical twin Darren.

"For someone to say that, I just thought it was an awful thing to say.

"I was concerned for his well-being and his mental state but I did not think he would kill himself."

– Family liaison officer Detective Constable Alison Brown, friend of David Rathband

While on holiday, Mr Rathband tried to contact his wife up to 50 times a day. In one call he pretended to be a police officer saying her husband was dead.

Mrs Rathband visited him for the last time on the night he died. She contacted his sister Debbie Essery and his welfare officer Insp John Heckles.

That evening, officers broke into his home and found him hanging.

Ms French had also seen him earlier that day, and she told the inquest he said he had experienced suicidal thoughts, but had not been able to kill himself.

Rathband coroner urges nobody to blame themselves

On the third day of the inquest into the death of Pc David Rathband, Coroner Eric Armstrong urged nobody involved in the hearing to blame themselves.

"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."

– Coroner Eric Armstrong

The inquest heard Mr Rathband, 44, had made threats to kill himself and had said he attempted to hang himself but could not go through with it. He was found hanging at his home in Blyth, Northumberland, on February 29 2012, 20 months after being shot and blinded by Raoul Moat.


Rathband was not thought to be at risk of suicide

A coroner has ruled that being shot and blinded by gunman Raoul Moat was the first step leading to Pc David Rathband killing himself.

The traffic officer struggled after the collapse of his marriage and found it hard to cope with losing his sight. He was found hanging at his home 20 months after he was shot. His family said Northumbria Police could have done more to support him.

"It's my experience that people who intend to take their own lives will do so. Those who make threats to take it over a period of time need help."

– Superintendent Jim Napier, of Northumbria Police

The inquest heard Mr Rathband, 44, had made threats to kill himself and said he attempted to hang himself but could not go through with it. he was not considered to be at immediate risk of suicide.

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.

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