David Rathband: PC shot by Raoul Moat took his own life

Verdict ends inquest that revealed blinded officer's torturous private life in wake of 2010 shooting

LAST UPDATED AT 12:54 ON Wed 8 Jan 2014

DAVID RATHBAND, the police officer found hanged 20 months after he was shot and blinded by fugitive Raoul Moat, took his own life, an inquest has confirmed.

Coroner Eric Armstrong told the inquest into the officer's death that nobody close to PC Rathband should look back in hindsight and think they could have done anything to prevent his suicide.

Rathband's wife, Kath, appealed for privacy after today's verdict, describing the period since the July 2010 shooting as "immensely difficult". She added that she and her two children, Ashley and Mia, would "look to rebuild" their lives while remembering 44-year-old Rathband "and all he meant to us".

The inquest into Rathband's death turned a spotlight on the personal struggles both he and his family faced in the wake of the shooting. While Rathband won "national praise" for the way he dealt with his disability and set up a charity to help emergency workers injured in the line of duty, his personal life became chaotic, the Daily Telegraph reports.

His estranged wife told the inquest that her husband had several affairs after he was shot by the armed fugitive in Northumberland. His last affair was with Lisa French, a survivor of the 7/7 London bombings, which effectively ended their marriage.

Despite his infidelity, Rathband could not understand why his wife would not take him back, the inquest heard. He bombarded her with up to 100 calls a day, "sent abusive messages and would sometimes threaten to self-harm".

In one incident, the policeman threatened to hang himself during a video call with his wife so she would be forced to watch. But Kath Rathband told the inquest that her husband "did not threaten to kill himself to me, he expressed suicidal thoughts, the two are very different".

Before the inquest in Newcastle, Rathband's father Keith made a statement to the media. He said his son had been "let down by the people that could have prevented his death" and he hoped the coroner would find his death was "preventable in the circumstances". · 

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