Police officer 'threatened suicide'

Preston and Leyland Citizen: Pc David Rathband was found dead at his Northumberland home in February 2012 Pc David Rathband was found dead at his Northumberland home in February 2012

Pc David Rathband threatened to hang himself while participating in 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.

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 to help emergency workers injured at work.

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 said he was thinking of hanging himself and would put his phone onto 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 was 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."

Yesterday Mrs Rathband told of 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 found out about the friendship which started on Twitter had become more serious just days before her husband flew to Australia to visit his twin, Darren.

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.

Mr Rathband, who was born in Stoke-on-Trent, would send abusive messages, and would sometimes threaten to self-harm.

But his wife said the pattern was for him to send unpleasant messages to her but to be calm and rational when she spoke directly to him.

click2find

About cookies

We want you to enjoy your visit to our website. That's why we use cookies to enhance your experience. By staying on our website you agree to our use of cookies. Find out more about the cookies we use.

I agree