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Update - Rathband inquest hears PC threatened to hang himself

By Staffordshire Newsletter  |  Posted: January 09, 2014

By Newsletter Reporter

PC David Rathband shot by gunman visits his home town of Stafford

PC David Rathband shot by gunman visits his home town of Stafford

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STAFFORD-born police officer PC David Rathband threatened to hang himself during a video call with his estranged wife so she would see him do it, an inquest has been told.

But the family liaison officer who was told about the "bizarre" threat did not believe he would go through with it, she told the hearing.

Earlier the hearing was told PC Rathband had an affair with 7/7 bombing survivor Lisa French in the months before he died.

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

He went on to win national praise for the way he tackled his new disability, creating the Blue Lamp Foundation for injured emergency workers.

But in February 2012 he was found hanged at the three-storey townhouse in Blyth, Northumberland, which he had moved into 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 [Rathband's wife] 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."

"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.

Mrs Rathband told how her husband had several affairs with women but his last, with Lisa French, a survivor of the 7/7 London bombing, ended their marriage.

Mrs Rathband told the inquest he could not understand why she would not take him back and would call her up to 100 times a day.

PC Rathband's family claim he was "let down by the people that could have prevented his death."

The inquest hearing continues in Newcastle upon Tyne.

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