03/03/2012 04:51 GMT | Updated 02/05/2012 06:12 BST

Pc David Rathband, It Was His Decision To Die, Say Brother And Sister

The brother and sister of Pc David Rathband have told how they must accept their sibling's death, saying it was his own decision.

Pc Rathband, who was shot and blinded by gunman Raoul Moat, was found hanged at his home in Blyth, Northumberland, a coroner heard yesterday.

His twin brother Darren, 44, who is also a police officer and has flown to the UK from Australia, said in an interview with The Sun: "It's heartbreaking he made this decision.

"But at least it was his decision. We've got to accept it."

He insisted: "David was shot by Raoul Moat but Moat didn't kill him."

Pc Rathband lost his sight after he was blasted twice in the face by Moat while sitting unarmed in his patrol car in July 2010.

Darren Rathband told the newspaper: "Seeing him fumble and stumble over the simple things in life was heartbreaking. He couldn't go on like that."

Sister Debbie, 49, said there were no unanswered questions, adding: "We know why he did it. I know and I understand why he's done what he's done.

"We have to deal with this massive pain and this massive void but at least David is at peace."

The pair praised their brother's courage, with Darren saying: "David didn't want to be a burden on anyone. Everything he set his mind to he accomplished - be it family or work."

He said his brother "just ran out of energy", adding that the traffic officer was "devastated" over the breakdown of his marriage.

The father of two's body was discovered hanging from a length of material in the stairwell of his three-storey semi-detached home on Heather Lea, in Bebside, on Wednesday evening, South Northumberland coroner Eric Armstrong heard yesterday.

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

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

Gunman Moat evaded capture for a week after declaring war on Northumbria Police, saying he was "hunting for officers".

He shot himself dead following an armed stand-off on a riverbank in Rothbury, Northumberland.

On July 3 2010, he shot and injured his former partner Samantha Stobbart, 22, and killed her new boyfriend, Chris Brown, 29.

The following day, he crept up Pc Rathband as he sat in his marked police car at a roundabout above the A1, and shot him twice.

Pc Rathband saved his own life by pretending to be dead.

He was taken to Newcastle General Hospital for emergency surgery but lost the sight in both eyes and was left with more than 200 shotgun pellets lodged in his skull.

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