Thursday 01, March 2012
PM leads tributes to Raoul Moat victim PC David Rathband
THE Prime Minister led tributes today to the "extraordinarily brave"
blinded policeman David Rathband who has been found dead at his home in a
The 44-year-old father-of-two became another victim of crazed gunman Raoul
Moat, who blasted him twice in the face as he sat unarmed in his patrol car in
PC Rathband's body was discovered in Blyth, Northumberland, last night after officers received a report of concern for his welfare.
A Northumbria Police spokesman said no-one was being sought in connection with the incident.
David Cameron said: "I met David, he was an extraordinarily brave man, and after his horrific injuries he did an enormous amount for charities and for other injured police officers, and for families who had lost police officers in the line of duty."
Northumbria Chief Constable Sue Sim said: "In July 2010 his life changed for ever when he was shot and blinded by Raoul Moat.
"David showed outstanding bravery in what was a terrifying situation.
"He was a dedicated officer who acted in the best traditions of the police service."
He set up PC David Rathband's Blue Lamp Foundation to help members of the emergency services injured by a criminal act while at work.
Patron Duncan Bannatyne, the entrepreneur and TV star, told Radio4's Today programme that PC Rathband took painkillers to cope with the agony of his facial injuries.
"If it wasn't for that, he would have coped with his blindness," he said.
"I thought he was doing OK. I just wish I had been in contact with him and spent more time with him."
A well-wisher who left flowers at the officer's home said PC Rathband was Raoul Moat's last victim.
Further tributes were paid to the officer today. Police Federation chairman Paul McKeever said: "He exemplified the very best of British policing and had the respect of all those who knew or worked alongside him.
"This is a very sad day for the police family. David will be sorely missed but never forgotten."
Sir Hugh Orde, president of the Association of Chief Police Officers, said: "He was an officer who personified the values of British policing, showing the utmost bravery when faced with danger in the line of duty."
Flowers left at his home had a card which said: "You didn't deserve this. You were only doing your job like so many of us do every day. These past 19 months have taken us all on a journey. You have been an inspiration. We will continue that journey. And we will look after Kath and the kids."
Writer Tony Parsons tweeted: "PC David Rathband did not commit suicide - he was murdered by Raoul Moat as surely as if he had left him dead by the side of that road. RIP."
Carol Vorderman, a patron of the officer's foundation, tweeted: "Terrible news - the death of PC David Rathband.
"As a Pride of Britain winner, he was a star. We're praying this morning for Kath, Ash and Mia x"
Entertainment company boss Paul Garner, of Walton Avenue, Blyth, completed a sponsored walk with the policeman at the launch of his Blue Lamp Foundation charity. The father-of-two said PC Rathband died wanting answers as to why he was targeted by Moat.
Placing his bouquet close to the front door of Rathband's new-build three-bedroom semi-detached house on Heather Lea at Bebside, in Blyth, he said: "David was one of the bravest men I have ever met.
"He was full of kindness and dignity despite what had happened to him."
"He kept on keeping on as long as he could but it all became too much to take. Now Raoul Moat has killed him too."
A large bouquet of white daisies bound with two Blue Lamp Foundation wristbands was laid at the PC's back gate.
A note pinned to it read: "David. You are at peace now my friend. Enjoy it. Have a fag without getting wrong. Have a game of golf.
"You didn't deserve this. You were only doing your job like so many of us do every day.
"These past 19 months have taken us all on a
journey. You have been an inspiration. We will continue that
"And we will look after Kath and the kids. Adios amigo. Peter and all at Bluelamp. xxx."
The back door to PC Rathband's home was covered with a strip of plywood where glass had been smashed.
The officer's twin Darren was travelling from Australia to be with the family. PC Rathband had only returned from there at the weekend.
A Northumbria Police spokesman said: "At around 7pm, officers received a report of concern for the welfare of PC David Rathband at his home in Blyth.
"Officers attended the scene alongside the ambulance service and he was found inside. He was declared dead at the scene.
"A police investigation is under way and officers are in the process of notifying the family.
"The coroner has been informed."
Former bouncer Moat was the subject of a huge manhunt as he evaded capture for a week before shooting himself dead after a stand-off with police in Rothbury, Northumberland.
On July 3 2010, he had shot and injured his former partner Samantha Stobbart, 22, and killed her new boyfriend, Chris Brown, 29.
The following day, after declaring he was now "hunting for officers", Moat crept up on armed PC Rathband as he sat in his marked police car at a roundabout above the A1.
PC Rathband was shot twice and saved his own life by pretending to be dead.
He was rushed to Newcastle General Hospital and underwent surgery but lost the sight in both eyes and was left with more than 200 shotgun pellets lodged in his skull.
The officer, who joined Northumbria Police in 2000, later announced he was suing the force after he was left "a sitting duck" when gunman Moat declared war on police during his rampage.
PC Rathband announced on Twitter in November that he and his wife Kath were separating permanently.
Two months earlier he issued a statement saying he was to "live separately from his wife and family".
But that statement stressed the move was not linked to his recent arrest on suspicion of assaulting her.
Karl Ness, 26, and Qhuram Awan, 23, who helped Moat during his rampage, were jailed for life in March last year.
Both were found guilty of the attempted murder of PC Rathband as well as other charges.
After they were sentenced, the officer said: "These two individuals, along with the other coward who wasn't man enough to stay here, have taken my job from me."
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