Police failed to warn PC Rathband of Raoul Moat threats

PC Rathband's sister Debbie is suing for alleged negligence. Picture: PA

PC Rathband's sister Debbie is suing for alleged negligence. Picture: PA

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Police Constable David Rathband was left ignorant of threats made by gunman Raoul Moat despite it being a “no brainer” he should have been warned prior to being shot and blinded, a court has heard.

The accusations against Northumbria Police were made on the first day of a High Court civil claim yesterday by PC Rathband’s sister Debbie Essery and brother Darren.

It 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 Newcastle roundabout above the A1 on 4 July, 2010. PC Rathband took his own life in February 2012.

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

In the minutes after he was blasted twice by the former bouncer in July 2010, senior officers ordered all unarmed police to return to stations.

Geoffrey Tattersall QC, for Ms Essery and Mr Rathband, told Mr Justice Males at Newcastle Crown Court, that even though Moat had rung 999 and made threats to the police, “no warning of any kind was issued. David Rathband was shot at a time when he remained ignorant to the threats made by Raoul Moat to officers”.

He said: “Moat had said if the boyfriend had not been a police officer he would not have shot him.

“A duty of care was owed and the force was negligent in failing to warn David Rathband that Raoul Moat had telephoned and made threats.

“We say that an interim warning should have been given noting the threat to officers, to probably tell them to be vigilant and probably that they should keep on the move on the basis a mobile officer is far harder to shoot.”

The case continues.

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