England

Moat victim 'a hero' says brother of shot Pc Rathband

The brother of a police officer apparently shot by Raoul Moat says he considers him "a hero" and believes he will return to work.

Darren Rathband, from Stafford, said twin brother David looks "extremely well" and his injuries are improving.

Pc David Rathband, 42, may be permanently blind after being shot in the face and chest in his patrol car in East Denton, near Newcastle.

Darren has flown from his new home in Australia to be with his brother.

Moat apparently shot himself after a stand-off in Rothbury, Northumberland in the early hours of 10 July.

He was suspected of shooting his ex-girlfriend Samantha Stobbart, and murdering her partner, Chris Brown.

Pc Rathband, a father of two, was shot while sitting in his patrol car the following day.

Last week, he said he bore no malice to Moat despite his life-changing injuries and was determined to return to work after treatment.

His brother Darren recently emigrated to Australia to continue working as a police officer.

He said was about to go to a football match when he received a very emotional phone call from Pc Rathband's wife telling him his brother had been shot and he needed to come home.

He struggled to find out how it had happened but said he found a story about the double shooting which contained a photograph of Moat.

"There was a picture of this heavily, thick-set man saying he'd shot and killed a gentleman and injured his ex-partner and I looked at that and as soon as I saw that I said to my partner: 'He's shot my brother.'

But as he flew to the UK he noticed a woman reading an article about the incident in newspaper and he saw the photograph of his badly injured brother.

"It really came home to me that I needed to get home quick."

Image caption Pc David Rathband was shot in the face and chest

He said he prepared himself to visit his brother in hospital but he did not look as bad as he feared.

"He said: 'Who is that?' and I said: 'It's your brother' and his voice and his sarcastic way said: 'What you doing here?'

"Then I just knew he was OK, he is going to survive, he wasn't dead and his face was in pretty remarkable condition."

He said that the family is encouraged by his strength and believe he will return to work.

"Sitting there listening to him saying: 'I'm not ill. Yes I've had an operation or two but I want to get back to work'.

"His goal is to return as a police officer in Northumbria and he'll do that.

"Most children grow up looking for a hero - Superman, Spiderman, whatever - I didn't realise I grew up with mine and that to me is second to none.

"I can grow up now knowing my hero is right next to me."