Blinded officer found hanged by colleagues, inquest is told

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POLICE Constable David Rathband – the officer shot and blinded by Raoul Moat – was found hanged, a coroner has been told.

The body of the father of two was discovered hanging from a length of material in the stairwell of his three-storey semi-detached home in Blyth, Northumberland, on Wednesday evening.

Officers broke into the 44-year-old’s home through a back patio door after fears were raised for his safety.

Pc Rathband was reported to have posted messages on Twitter in the days immediately before his death.

The traffic officer, who had returned on Monday from a holiday in Australia, was reported to have tweeted “RIP PC Rathband” and that he had “lost my sight, my job, my wife and my marriage” and would “say goodbye to my children”.

South Northumberland coroner Eric Armstrong yesterday heard that one officer who broke into Pc Rathband’s house saw “a dark shape” hanging from the banisters.

Home Office pathologist Dr Nigel Cooper said the cause of death was pressure on the neck due to hanging.

Mr Armstrong said: “That is all the information we have. I am going to adjourn the inquest at this stage pending further information.

“This is a sad occasion for the family of Pc Rathband and for all his former colleagues and those who knew him.”