Pc David Rathband family's in court battle over Raoul Moat shooting

Pc David Rathband was shot and blinded by gunman Raoul Moat in July 2010.

His family believe he was "left out in harm's way" - and took civil action against Northumbria Police at the High Court sitting in Newcastle.

The force have since changed procedures to ensure nothing like this happens again - but Rathband's family feel the force let "David down".

The family ultimately were unsuccessful in their negligence claim. Northumbria Police have yet to comment.

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Rathband family: "We are disappointed, but not surprised"

The family of Pc David Rathband hit out at the 'arrogance and insensitivity' of Northumbria Police after they lost a High Court negligence claim against the shot policeman's former employer.

In a statement read out on behalf of sister Debbie Essery and twin brother Darren, they said David had been left alone on the fateful night when gunman Raoul Moat shot him.


Former Chief Constable of Northumbria Police responds to Rathband ruling

Former Chief Constable Sue Sim (Northumbria Police) Credit: ITV

"There are no winners or losers in this tragic episode.

My thoughts, prayers and best wishes remain with Kath and their two children together with the other close family members who have been affected by these terrible events.

David was acting in the best tradition of policing when he was brutally shot by Raoul Moat.

The judge has acknowledged that the primary function of British policing remains the safety of the public and that officers are sometimes placed at a higher level of risk as a consequence.

I was and remain honoured to have led my officers during what was a most difficult and testing time for everyone public and police"

– Former Chief Constable Sue Sim

Northumbria Police respond to Rathband ruling

David Rathband

We are content with the Judge’s response to the actions of the police commander that night.

"This has been a sad and difficult case for all concerned. It was a tragic incident which occurred five and a half years ago and our thoughts have always been with David and his immediate family.

"The Judge has stated that Moat was a "resourceful and determined criminal and David Rathband was desperately unlucky to be the victim of his cruelty and hatred."

Moat's actions created an unprecedented situation for Northumbria Police but the Judge has recognised that operational officers have to make high pressure, complex decisions in tight time scales and in doing so they must focus not only on officer safety but on the safety and welfare of the public.

"To protect the public was the primary role of the police commander that night.

"The Judge, following detailed scrutiny of the events of that night, over a two week period, has stated that it was emphatically clear that PC Rathband had not been let down by Northumbria Police.

"We continue to wish David's family the best for the future and David will always remain in the heart of Northumbria Police."

– Chief Constable Steve Ashman

Rathband family ordered to pay force's court costs

David Rathband

The judge presiding over the Rathband negligence case has ruled that the family should pay the force's court costs.

That starts with an interim payment of £100,000 - due within 21 days.

The family of Pc David Rathband lost their case against Northumbria police at the High Court in Newcastle.

Rathband was shot and blinded by Raoul Moat in 2010 as he sat in his patrol car in Newcastle.


Rathband case judge: "It could have been anyone"

(l) Raoul Moat and (r) David Rathband

The judge in the civil case brought against Northumbria Police summed up his decision saying that "but if it had not been him (Rathband) it would probably have been somebody else".

The family of Pc David Rathband lost their civil case against Northumbria Police, after attempting to sue them for negligence.

Rahtband was shot and blinded by gunman Raoul Moat in 2010.

He later took his own life.

Moat was a resourceful and determined criminal, well capable of carrying out his threat, who remained at large for some days after PC Rathband was shot.

Regardless of the issue of any warning to be vigilant, PC Rathband’s bleak assessment was probably right.

He was desperately unlucky to be the victim of Moat’s cruelty and hatred, but if it had not been him, it would probably have been somebody else."

– Mr Justice Males

What the judge had to say:

  • Superintendent Farrell (Silver Commander at the time) had only 3½ minutes in which to do anything which would have averted the shooting. In all probability that was simply not enough time.
  • Even if a warning had been broadcast within that short period, it would have left PC Rathband with very little time, measured (at most) in seconds rather than minutes, in which to decide that he needed to move away from the position in which his vehicle was parked.
  • Unless he moved off almost instantaneously, a warning would not have averted his shooting.
  • The Judge referenced Rathband's book saying: It is worth referring to the emotion which PC Rathband described (in his book) in contemplating the likelihood that, if it had not been him who was shot, it would have been one of his fellow officers:

Rathband family ordered to pay court costs after losing case against Northumbria Police

The family of PC David Rathband have lost the case the civil court case they brought against Northumbria Police. They claimed that the force was negligent in not warning officers of gunman Raoul Moat's threat to kill officers. PC Rathband was shot by Moat in 2010 and later took his own life.

David Rathband's sister Debbie Essery at court on January 15th

The judge has ordered the family to pay court costs, and has ordered an interim payment of £100,000.

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