Rathband threatened to hang himself live online

Dc Alison Brown: 'I thought it was a bizarre thing to say'. Picture: PA
Dc Alison Brown: 'I thought it was a bizarre thing to say'. Picture: PA
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THe police officer who was shot by gunman Raoul Moat, threatened to hang himself while participating in a video call with his estranged wife so she would see him do it, an inquest heard yesterday.

But a police family liaison officer who was told about the “bizarre” threat did not believe Pc David Rathband would go through with it, the hearing was told.

The 44-year-old had been left blind and fighting for his life after Moat shot him twice while on the run in July 2010.

Mr Rathband went on to win national praise for the way he tackled his new disability, creating the Blue Lamp Foundation to help emergency workers injured at work.

But in February 2012 he was found hanged at a house in Blyth, Northumberland, into which he had moved following a domestic incident with his wife.

Giving evidence, the police liaison officer, who worked with the Rathband family after he was shot, said he made the threat to his estranged wife Kath.

But Dc Alison Brown, who said her professional relationship with the family eventually developed into a personal one, said she never thought he would actually kill himself.

“She said he was thinking of hanging himself and would put his phone on to Facetime so she could see him doing it,” she said.

“I thought it was such a bizarre thing to say. Saying you’re going to hang yourself and do it on Facetime is bizarre.

“David had never said to me personally that he had any suicidal thoughts. I knew there were these Twitter posts and what he said to Kath, but he never said anything to me.

“For someone to say that, I just thought it was an awful thing to say.

“I was concerned for his well-being and his mental state but I did not think he would kill himself.”

On Monday, Mrs Rathband told the inquiry that her husband had several affairs, but his last with Lisa French, a survivor of the 7/7 London bombings, ended their marriage.

The inquest at Moot Hall, Newcastle, heard details about how the police responded to concerns about Mr Rathband’s welfare on the night he died.

A senior officer who was on duty that night said a number of factors contributed towards them concluding there was not an immediate threat to his life.

Superintendent James Napier, of Northumbria Police, said their decision was influenced by the fact Mr Rathband had previously made such threats.

Supt Napier explained that he was fully trained as a hostage and crisis negotiator, and in suicide negotiation. He said: “It’s my experience that people who intend to take their own lives will do so. Those who make threats to take it over a period of time need help.”

The inquest continues.