Policeman blinded by gunman Moat to leave hospital

The policeman blinded by gunman Raoul Moat was expected to leave hospital today as officers continued to question four people arrested on suspicion of helping the fugitive.

Pc David Rathband lost the sight in both eyes after he was shot while sitting unarmed in a patrol car on a roundabout.

The 42-year-old officer, who was shot twice at close range and has been recovering in hospital, said today he was “looking forward” to returning home.

He told Victoria Derbyshire on BBC Radio 5 Live: “I’m on the mend. I’m obviously looking forward to going home and I’ve managed to negotiate an early release from the ward sister.”

Bouncer Moat, 37, from Newcastle, England, shot his ex-lover, killed her new boyfriend and shot the unarmed policeman before going on the run for a week, eventually shooting himself dead in Rothbury, Northumberland.

Describing himself as "medically" on the mend, Pc Rathband added: "My facial injuries have all been sorted by the plastics team at the hospital and it's just a case of allowing my jaw and face and stuff to knit together.

“I have to come back in three to four weeks to have another examination of my left eye just to see if there’s something they can salvage from that.”

But despite his injuries, he insisted he felt “good about what’s ahead” and looked forward to “sleeping in my own bed”.

Focusing on how he will adapt to the “life-changing” events, he said: “It’s going to very difficult and I’m devastated, but I’m not going to dwell on it because if I do then, in my opinion, it will block out all of the things that I need to achieve to get to where I need to be.”

The police officer said he would rely on the help of his wife, children and close family.

During the interview, he spoke of his immediate fears as he was shot by Moat but insisted he still felt no bitterness towards the gunman who was “trying to kill me”.

A total of 20 people have been arrested in connection with the case.

Yesterday a Northumbria Police spokesman said two men and two women were arrested on suspicion of assisting an offender.

A man and a woman were held in Blyth, Northumberland, and a man and a woman in Newcastle.

Two of them have been charged with conspiracy to murder and will appear before Newcastle Crown Court tomorrow.

Meanwhile a second post-mortem examination on the killer’s body is expected to be held today at the request of his brother Angus.

More on this topic

Moate helper loses sentence appeal

Moat inquest to examine Taser use

Moat inquest continues

Fugitive Moat 'felt like King Kong'

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