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Children saved my life, says cop blinded by Moat

The policeman shot by fugitive Raoul Moat told today how a vision of his children saved his life.

PC David Rathband said he knew he was bleeding to death when he was blasted in the face as he sat unarmed in his patrol car last month.

Slumped in the footwell of his police car, the father-of-two felt his life slipping away as blood poured from his wounds.

As Moat left him for dead, he was able to call for help using his police radio. It was then that a vision of son Ashley and daughter Mia filled his mind.

They began to speak and Ashley (17), reached out to grab hold of his father to stop him slipping away, he said.

PC Rathband has been left completely blind despite the best efforts of surgeons at Newcastle's Royal Victoria Infirmary to save the sight in his remaining left eye. His right eye was lost when he was shot.

In an emotional interview on ITV's Tonight programme, he spoke of his determination to live as full a life as possible despite his handicap. And his family describe their anger for Raoul Moat.

Former nightclub doorman Moat (37) sparked a huge manhunt after shooting his ex-lover Sam Stobbart (22), in Birtley, Gateshead, and killing her new boyfriend Chris Brown.

Terrifying

The next day, he targeted PC Rathband, who was on patrol. PC Rathband described the terrifying attack.

"(Moat) just darted across and his hands were up, and I knew straight away he'd got a gun. And I just remember the big flash from the gun. And it just lit up the whole of my face. And it pushed me down into the footwell because of the force of the gun."

Moat then shot him a second time.

"I hadn't felt the bullet actually hit my face -- I just felt as if it was going all the way down through my face.

"And I sat up and I just felt all the blood spraying over the top of my hands and over the steering wheel and every time I tried to breathe it was just I could feel it just pulling in my throat and then it was just spraying out of my face and I just I knew... I knew I was in trouble because of the amount of blood I was losing."

Moat then left the seriously injured PC for dead.

"I saw my two children and they were floating past me from my left to right as I sat there and they stopped. And I can remember my son and daughter speaking ... and as I was drifting away my son stood up and grabbed hold of me.

"And my daughter was standing next to him and then I heard the sounds of the sirens coming and then my son and daughter disappeared in my mind."

hnews@herald.ie


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