Raoul Moat victim PC David Rathband found dead at home

PC David Rathband PC Rathband was shot by Moat as he sat in his patrol car

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The police officer shot and blinded by gunman Raoul Moat has been found dead at his house in Northumberland.

The body of David Rathband, 44, was found by police at his home in Blyth on Wednesday night after officers received a report of concern for his welfare.

Police said no-one else was being sought in connection with the death.

In July 2010, the PC was shot by Moat as he sat in his patrol car in Newcastle. It came a day after Moat had shot two other people, one fatally.

Prime Minister David Cameron, who had met the officer, described him as an "extraordinarily brave man" who did "an enormous amount for charity".

"I feel desperately sorry for his family," he said.

"After his horrific injuries he did an enormous amount for charity and other injured police officers and for families who had lost police officers in the line of duty."

Northumbria Police Chief Constable Sue Sim said: "I am deeply saddened to have to confirm the death of PC David Rathband and my thoughts are with his family, friends and colleagues at this difficult time.

'Outstanding bravery'

"In July 2010 his life changed forever when he was shot and blinded by Raoul Moat.

"David showed outstanding bravery in what was a terrifying situation."

Raoul Moat Raoul Moat died following a six-hour stand-off with armed officers

PC Rathband was shot twice on 4 July as he was sitting, unarmed, in his car in the Denton Burn area of Newcastle.

A day earlier, in Birtley, Gateshead, Moat had shot and injured his ex-girlfriend Samantha Stobbart, 22, and killed her boyfriend 29-year-old Chris Brown.

For almost a week Moat was the subject of a huge manhunt, which ended when he shot himself dead after a stand-off with armed police in the market town of Rothbury, Northumberland.

After being shot by Moat, PC Rathband lost his sight and was fitted with prosthetic eyes.

He was hailed for his charity work in the wake of his injuries and started the Blue Lamp Foundation to help emergency service staff injured in the line of duty.

'Coping extremely well'

In November the policeman, originally from Stafford, announced on Twitter he and his wife Kath were separating.

He said the move had nothing to do with his arrest on suspicion of assault.

The first patron of the Blue Lamp Foundation, entrepreneur, Duncan Bannatyne, said PC Rathband's death was "very, very sad."

Home Secretary Theresa May said: "I had the privilege of meeting PC David Rathband. He was a fine and brave policeman and my thoughts are with his family."

Former Labour Home secretary David Blunkett, himself blind since birth, said: "I am deeply saddened and I am worried about his wife Kath and his family.

"There was a man who was struggling inside as well as with the practicalities of coping with blindness. He was actually coping extremely well, but he didn't believe so.

"He was so hurt and frustrated and angry inside and felt that he wasn't coping when he was better at using new technology than I was."

In a statement on its website, the Blue Lamp Foundation said: "Since being shot in July 2010, David struggled to come to terms with his horrific injuries and the traumatic effect they had on him and his family and friends.

"David's legacy will live on in the form of The Blue Lamp Foundation, which bears his name."

PC Rathband's brother Darren, who lives in Australia where the officer had been until recently, tweeted: "On way back to the UK to be at my brother's side. RIP Police Constable 190 David John Rathband."

Floral tributes outside David Rathband's home Floral tributes have appeared outside PC Rathband's Blyth home

PC Rathband was questioned in August after officers were called to an incident at the family home in Cramlington, Northumberland.

He was understood to have been released shortly afterwards.

In March last year two men, Karl Ness, 26, and Qhuram Awan, 23, were convicted of helping Moat.

Both were found guilty of the attempted murder of PC Rathband as well as other charges.

Speaking after the pair were sentenced, the officer said: "Both Ness and Awan will be very old people before they are released or considered for release and long may they stay there.

"These two individuals, along with the other coward who wasn't man enough to stay here, have taken my job from me."

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