Sunday 19 November 2017

Blinded hero 'killed himself after affair ended his marriage'

PC David Rathband with his wife Kath, son Ashley and daughter Mia
PC David Rathband with his wife Kath, son Ashley and daughter Mia

Tom Wilkinson

A British police officer described as a hero after being blinded by Raoul Moat during a siege in 2010 was found hanging at his home after an affair with a survivor of the 7/7 bombing effectively ended his marriage, an inquest has heard.

The 44-year-old, who was shot by Moat, had won praise for the way he tackled his new disability, creating the Blue Lamp Foundation to help emergency workers injured at work.

However, in spring 2011, he lost motivation and had failed to adjust to losing his sight, his widow Kath Rathband told the inquest at Newcastle's Moot Hall. In February 2012, David Rathband was found hanging at his house in Blyth, Northumberland.

Mrs Rathband, mother of 21-year-old Ash and Mia (15) said her husband had several affairs with women, but his last with Lisa French, a survivor of the London bombing, ended their marriage.

She said she had always forgiven him for his previous affairs. "This was the one and only occasion I felt me and the kids had had enough," she said.

Mrs Rathband told the inquest he could not understand why she would not take him back, and would call her up to 100 times a day.

It became so bad she enlisted the support of the Domestic Violence Unit, she said.

She visited him for the last time on the evening he died.

He looked "awful", was not eating, and was still in his pyjamas, she told the coroner.

Mrs Rathband realised he needed support, but felt she was not the right person to be with him and contacted his sister and his welfare officer.

She was to hear the "devastating news David had taken his own life" later that evening, she said.

Before blasting the unarmed traffic officer, Moat shot and injured his ex-girlfriend Samantha Stobbart, and killed her boyfriend, 29-year-old Chris Brown.

Moat shot himself in Rothbury, Northumberland, during a stand-off with police at the end of a week-long manhunt.

The inquest continues.

Irish Independent

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