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PC David Rathband: How tragic traffic cop's life spiralled after he was shot and blinded by Raoul Moat

Dec 28, 2023

As ITV drama The Hunt for Raoul Moat is set to air we take a look at the devastation gunman caused to the Northumbria Police officer he blinded

He was the dedicated traffic officer who bore the brunt of Raoul Moat’s hatred for the police.

PC David Rathband was shot in the face by the fugitive gunman who sparked Britain's biggest manhunt with his murderous rampage in 2010.

The story of the search for Moat is now set to be explored in the new ITV drama series, The Hunt for Raoul Moat, which hits our screens this Sunday.

Read more: Retired cop Neil Adamson on why Raoul Moat drama was inevitable

And today we take a look back at how PC Rathband bravely battled to overcome his injuries and return to the job he loved, before he finally succumbed to the lifetime of anguish Moat left him with.

It was during the early hours of July 3, 2010, that Moat arrived in Birtley, Gateshead, with a sawn-off shotgun. He blasted his ex Samantha Stobbart, 22, twice and killed her new partner Chris Brown, 29.

Less than 24 hours after shooting Samantha and Christopher, the gunman crept up on unarmed PC David Rathband as he sat in his patrol car by a roundabout in Newcastle.

The 37-year-old former doorman shot the dad-of-two twice in the face.

The then-42-year-old survived the horrific attack by playing dead lying in a pool of blood in his car.

PC Rathband even found the strength and courage to radio for help and pass on invaluable information to his force as it continued to hunt Moat.

But the gun attack, which happened on a roundabout over the A1 in Newcastle, left the devoted cop blind.

Moat remained on the run for a week before eventually shooting himself in Rothbury, Northumberland.

In the months that followed, PC Rathband courageously battled his appalling injuries, inspiring the nation with his determination to return to the job he loved, while also setting up a charity to help other stricken emergency services personnel.

He won a Daily Mirror Pride of Britain award for his bravery at a celebrity-packed ceremony and went on to write his own autobiography.

PC Rathband also spent huge amounts of time fundraising and making public appearances after setting up the Blue Lamp Foundation.

But things began to unravel for the family man in 2011 after Moat’s accomplices, Karl Ness and Qhuram Awan, were jailed for their roles in his shooting.

PC Rathband separated from his wife of 20 years Kath after she discovered her husband had been having an affair with a 7/7 bombing survivor.

Then on February 29, 2012, he took his own life at his home in Blyth.

Following a three-day inquest Coroner Eric Armstrong said Moat's attack contributed to PC Rathband's detah.

He said: "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."

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