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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 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:

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