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1 March 2012, 07:41
Tributes are being paid to PC David Rathband, the police officer shot and blinded by gunman Raoul Moat, who has died.
After being shot and blinded in July 2010, Rathband set up his own charity, 'The Blue Lamp Foundation', which aims to help emergency service workers who are injured in the line of duty.
In a statement on behalf of the charity, they say:
"It is with great sadness that we learn of the death of David Rathband.
"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.
"The Foundation was started by David to help emergency services personnel injured in the line of duty as the result of a criminal act.
"It was David's wish that those who found themselves in a similar position to him could receive the support that wasn't available to him at the time.
"David's family have asked that their privacy be respected at this time and they are allowed the time and space to reflect and grieve."
Messages have been left on flowers near to PC Rathband's home.
One reads: "David, what a waste of life, we will remember you for all you done. RIP"
Another, left by colleagues of his at the Blue Lamp Foundation says,
"David, you are at peace now my friend. Enjoy it. Have a fag without getting wrong. Have a game of golf. You didn't deserve this. You were only doing your job like so many of us do every day.
"These past 19 months you have taken us all on a journey. You have been an inspiration. We will continue that journey and we will look after Kath and the kids. Adios Amigo. Peter and all at Bluelamp."
The Home Secretary Theresa May's also paid tribute. She says:
"I had the privilege of meeting Pc David Rathband. He was a brave and fine policeman. My thoughts are with his family.''
Dragons' Den star and North East Entrepreneur Duncan Bannatyne has sent his condolences:
"@DuncanBannatyne: What a sad day. RIP #pcdavidrathband. So so sorry I couldn't do more for you.
Unarmed & shot not once but twice full in the face by a coward RIP @davidrathband"
Rathband's brother Darren, who lives in Australia, has tweeted to say:
On way back to the UK, to be at my brothers side. RIP Police Constable 190 David John Rathband Please support blue lamp foundation
PC Rathband flew back home last weekend after spending time with Darren in Australia where he had surgery to remove pieces of shrapnel from his face.
Darren had mentioned his concern for his brother on Twitter on the morning of his death.
Some people look like pencils after trauma and loss. On the exterior functioning well, on the inside broken Do you know any pencils??
If so please visit one and make sure they are coping, even if they don't answer your calls.. That pencil may just snap and b lost 4ever ;-(
Chief Constable of Northumbria Police, Sue Sim said:
"I am deeply saddened to have to confirm the death tonight of PC David Rathband and my thoughts are with his family, friends and colleagues at this difficult time.
"In July 2010 his life changed for ever when he was shot and blinded by Raoul Moat. David showed outstanding bravery in what was a terrifying situation.
"He was a dedicated officer who acted in the best traditions of the police service."
Chief Superintendent of Durham Police, Ian Macdonald has tweeted:
@ChSuptIanMac I join all those others mourning the loss of David Rathband. Thoughts are with family, friends and his colleagues at @NorthumbriaPol #police
Cleveland Police Federation have tweeted their thoughts this morning
@clevelandpolfed PC David Rathband, a fine example of what Policing in UK is all about, RIP
Derbyshire Police have also sent their condolences. They've tweeted:
@DerbysPolice Our thoughts are with family of PC David Rathband of Northumbria Police who has been found dead today #ripdavidrathband
Former Scotland Yard commander John O'Connor said the consequences of Pc Rathband's injuries had been "too much for him to live with''.
He told ITV's Daybreak:
"No amount of counselling or compensation can give you back what you've lost and that's the bottom line of it.
"If you can't live with the consequences of the injuries you've received then, you know, this is a way out for a lot of people.
"It's dreadfully sad, there's nothing that could be done, in my view.
"You get all the counselling, all the help that's available, all the back-up, but the reality is you've got to live with it and if you can't, that's what happens.''
He said the police officer, who came under the media spotlight following the roundabout attack, had chosen to publicise his ordeal to help other wounded officers.
"The reality was, that was his choice and that was how he felt he could deal with the injuries he received.
"He's a man that suffered these appalling injuries and at the end of the day, the consequences were too much for him to live with - he couldn't bear the consequences.
"We move on but the victims stay with their injuries and their trauma for ever.''