Policeman blinded during Moat manhunt found dead

THE policeman who was shot and blinded by gunman Raoul Moat has been found dead at his home.

The body of Pc David Rathband was discovered in Blyth, Northumberland, last night after officers received a report of concern for his welfare.

A Northumbria Police spokesman said no-one was being sought in connection with the incident.

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The father-of-two, 44, lost his sight and was fitted with prosthetic eyes after being shot at close range in July 2010 during the manhunt for fugitive Moat.

Paying tribute, Chief Constable Sue Sim said she was “deeply saddened” by the death of Pc Rathband, a “dedicated officer” who showed “outstanding bravery in what was a terrifying situation”. A force spokesman said: “At around 7pm officers received a report of concern for the welfare of Pc David Rathband at his home in Blyth.

“Officers attended the scene alongside the ambulance service and he was found inside. He was declared dead at the scene.

“A police investigation is under way and officers are in the process of notifying the family. The coroner has been informed.”

Former bouncer Moat was the subject of a huge manhunt as he evaded capture for a week before shooting himself dead after a stand-off with police in the market town of Rothbury, Northumberland.

On July 3, 2010, he had shot and injured his former partner Samantha Stobbart, 22, and killed her new boyfriend, Chris Brown, 29. The next day, after declaring he was now “hunting for officers”, Moat crept up on armed Pc Rathband as he sat in his marked police car at a roundabout above the A1.

Pc Rathband was shot in the face and shoulder but saved his life by pretending to be dead.

He lost the sight in both eyes and was left with more than 200 shotgun pellets in his skull.

The officer, who joined Northumbria Police in 2000, later announced he was suing the force after he was left “a sitting duck”.

After the attack, the policeman launched his own charity, the Blue Lamp Foundation, which aims to help emergency service personnel injured in the line of duty.