Pc David Rathband's family in court battle over Raoul Moat shooting


Pc David Rathband who was shot and blinded by gunman Raoul Moat felt he was "left out in harm's way", his family said ahead of a High Court claim against his employer Northumbria Police.

Speaking outside court, his sister Debbie Essery said the force has denied responsibility for his injuries, but has since changed procedures to ensure nothing like this happened again.

The civil claim will focus on the crucial minutes between Moat dialling 999 to say he was hunting for police and him shooting the unarmed traffic officer who was sitting in his patrol car on a prominent Newcastle roundabout above the A1.

The claim states that had he been warned about the specific threat, Pc Rathband would have kept mobile.

In the minutes after Pc Rathband was blasted twice by the ex-doorman in July 2010, senior officers ordered all unarmed police to return to their stations.

In a statement ahead of the case, Ms Essery said she and David's twin Darren were entrusted by their brother to continue the litigation against Northumbria Police.

She said: "David felt he was left out in harm's way by the organisation in which he served, the organisation which has continued to state that they did nothing wrong, however have since changed various practices and procedures to ensure it never happens again."

The sister said - should the claim be successful - neither she nor Darren will benefit financially, and the money will go to David's children Ash and Mia.

"It was David's wishes his children are to be the sole beneficiary of any compensation that may be awarded," she said.

And she paid tribute to Pc Rathband, who killed himself in February 2012, saying: "David was a much-loved son, brother and uncle whose passing has left a huge void in our lives and he will always be sadly and deeply missed by his family."

In the early hours of July 3 2010, Moat shot his ex-partner Samantha Stobbart and murdered her new lover Chris Brown in Birtley, Gateshead, and went on the run.

That next night, Moat spoke to a Northumbria Police call handler for almost five minutes, saying he would kill any officer who came near him, that he was not coming in alive and, at one point, that he was hunting for officers.

The case is being heard at the High Court sitting in Newcastle.