Pc David Rathband: Estranged wife 'could not forgive officer left blind by gunman Raoul Moat over affair with 7/7 survivor Lisa French'

Kath Rathband tells inquest estranged husband who was shot and left blind by gunman Raoul Moat would call her 100 times a day

A police officer blinded by gunman Raoul Moat in 2010 began an affair with a survivor from the 7/7 London bombings, an inquest into his death heard today.

Mr Rathband, a 44-year-old father of two, was found hanging at his home in Blyth in Northumberland in February 2012.

Pc David Rathband's widow described how she was bombarded with up to 100 phone calls and text messages a day urging her to take him back following their separation in 2011.

Kath Rathband said that she sought help from a domestic violence unit and that whilst her husband would be rational when talking to her he would sometimes send abusive messages and threaten to self-harm.

The couple's 20-year marriage foundered after it emerged he had begun a relationship with Lisa French, who was injured in the bomb attack on a London bus in 2004, the inquest at Newcastle's Moot Hall was told.

Speaking ahead of the hearing Mr Rathband's father Keith said he hoped the inquest would find his son's death could have been preventable. "The evidence that the coroner has been given identifies that David was let down by the people that could have prevented his death," he said.

He had become a high-profile campaigner after recovering from being shot in the face by Moat whilst on patrol during the shooting spree in 2010 and later set up the Blue Lamp Foundation to help injured emergency service personnel.

Lisa French leaves the inquest into Pc David Rathband's death in Newcastle Lisa French leaves the inquest into Pc David Rathband's death in Newcastle Mrs Rathband said that her late husband had had a number of previous affairs leading up to the relationship with Ms French.

"By this point it was my opinion our marriage was over due to David's level of deceit," she said. "This was the one and only occasion I felt me and the kids had had enough," Mrs Rathband added.

During a trip to Australia shortly before his death he telephoned her pretending to be a police officer informing her that he had died. "You will see a fluorescent jacket at the door" - he told her. Another abusive message read: "I will swing before you receive a penny."

They met on the day of his death and he had appeared dishevelled and unsteady on his feet. After she left him he rang to tell her that "I wouldn't see him again," Mrs Rathband said.

He added: "Don't bother sending anyone round. If you do, they won't get in and I will say I am fine," she said. She contacted his welfare officer, an inspector with Northumbria police, but did not feel her estranged husband was about to kill himself.

Also giving evidence Ms French said that although he had admitted having suicidal thoughts she believed Mr Rathband was overcoming his issues. "He also spoke at great length about how he did not want to do it and he fought bravely and courageously for the whole six months that I knew him," she said.

A Northumbria Police investigation into its handling of the case following a complaint by his family found no evidence of mistakes. The inquest is due to last until Friday.

 

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
Latest stories from i100
SPONSORED FEATURES
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

Day In a Page

Giants Club: After wholesale butchery of Idi Amin's regime, Uganda’s giants flourish once again

Uganda's giants are flourishing once again

After the wholesale butchery of Idi Amin's regime, elephant populations are finally recovering
The London: After 350 years, the riddle of Britain's exploding fleet is finally solved

After 350 years, the riddle of Britain's exploding fleet is finally solved

Archaeologists will recover a crucial item from the wreck of the London which could help shed more light on what happened in the vessel's final seconds
Airbus has patented a jet that could fly from London to New York in one hour

Airbus has patented a jet that could fly from London to New York in one hour

The invention involves turbojets and ramjets - a type of jet engine - and a rocket motor
10 best sun creams for kids

10 best sun creams for kids

Protect delicate and sensitive skin with products specially formulated for little ones
Tate Sensorium: New exhibition at Tate Britain invites art lovers to taste, smell and hear art

Tate Sensorium

New exhibition at Tate Britain invites art lovers to taste, smell and hear art
Ashes 2015: Nice guy Steven Finn is making up for lost time – and quickly

Nice guy Finn is making up for lost time – and quickly

He was man-of-the-match in the third Test following his recall to the England side
Ashes 2015: Remember Ashton Agar? The No 11 that nearly toppled England

Remember Ashton Agar?

The No 11 that nearly toppled England
Turkey-Kurdish conflict: Obama's deal with Ankara is a betrayal of Syrian Kurds and may not even weaken Isis

US betrayal of old ally brings limited reward

Since the accord, the Turks have only waged war on Kurds while no US bomber has used Incirlik airbase, says Patrick Cockburn
VIPs gather for opening of second Suez Canal - but doubts linger over security

'A gift from Egypt to the rest of the world'

VIPs gather for opening of second Suez Canal - but is it really needed?
Jeremy Corbyn dresses abysmally. That's a great thing because it's genuine

Jeremy Corbyn dresses abysmally. That's a great thing because it's genuine

Fashion editor, Alexander Fury, applauds a man who clearly has more important things on his mind
The male menopause and intimations of mortality

Aches, pains and an inkling of mortality

So the male menopause is real, they say, but what would the Victorians, 'old' at 30, think of that, asks DJ Taylor
Man Booker Prize 2015: Anna Smaill - How can I possibly be on the list with these writers I have idolised?

'How can I possibly be on the list with these writers I have idolised?'

Man Booker Prize nominee Anna Smaill on the rise of Kiwi lit
Bettany Hughes interview: The historian on how Socrates would have solved Greece's problems

Bettany Hughes interview

The historian on how Socrates would have solved Greece's problems
Art of the state: Pyongyang propaganda posters to be exhibited in China

Art of the state

Pyongyang propaganda posters to be exhibited in China
Mildreds and Vanilla Black have given vegetarian food a makeover in new cookbooks

Vegetarian food gets a makeover

Long-time vegetarian Holly Williams tries to recreate some of the inventive recipes in Mildreds and Vanilla Black's new cookbooks