Previously unheard tapes of the police officer blinded by Raoul Moat reveal that the PC was haunted by the gunman in his nightmares, The Mirror reports. PC David Rathband was rendered blind after being shot in the face by the killer and took his own life 19 months after the attack in July 2010.
He had been disturbed by hallucinations due to the injuries that had left him unable to picture the faces of his loved ones, yet the one face he was able to see was of Moat.
Recordings of PC Rathband made immediately after Moat’s terrifying rampage have come to the surface. In the audio files, the officer – a father-of-two – says: “Moat, he used to come all the time. I used to see his face, [it’s] like a death face.
“He has an open flap of skin from above his left eyebrow to the right hand side of his face.
Read more: Family of Raoul Moat victim Chris Brown talk ‘prolonged suffering’
“And as I look at him it opens up, and I can see inside. He’s that grey colour of death. I struggle to see faces but he’s the exception, yeah. I can see his face – as clear as day.”
A huge police manhunt for Moat was launched after he shot his ex-girlfriend Samantha Stobbart and murdered her boyfriend Chris Brown.
Just minutes after calling 999 and declaring “war” on the police, Moat shot PC Rathband as he sat in his patrol car in Newcastle. Moat, 39, fatally shot himself a week later after police had surrounded him in Rothbury, Northumberland.
In the months after the rampage the police officer, who was left with 34 pellets embedded in his skull, opened up to ghostwriter Tony Horne.
More than 200 hours of recordings they made together for their book Tango 190 are being released this week as a podcast called The Rathband Tapes.
And in them, David repeatedly mentions being haunted by the gunman’s deathly image.
In a clip recorded the day before the killer’s accomplices, Karl Ness and Qhuram Awan, were jailed in 2011, PC Rathband told Horne: “I had a visit from Mr Moat. I haven’t had that for a few days or a few weeks actually.
“It’s the first time since the trial started [that] he’s come to visit me. And I was awake at four o’clock.”
Horne said in his narrative for the podcast: “The dreams seemed to drop off after the trial. But for a while, David had a recurring dream that he was standing in front of his mirror at home and Moat would appear in the reflection behind him.”
The writer added that the officer feared Ness and Awan would get off.
He said: “He was terrified he would walk past them in the street and not know it was them.”
In the aftermath of the horror, it was reported that the shooting of the officer by Moat was a random attack.
But in the tapes PC Rathband – who had arrested Moat for driving without a licence in 2009 – told Horne that he believed the killer had attacked him on purpose, driving past twice before crawling to the window and pointing the barrel of his gun in his face.
It is understood Moat had kept the collar numbers of all those who had arrested him. PC Rathband said: “People would say, ‘It’s such a shame, you were in the wrong place, you weren’t picked out, you weren’t targeted.’ Well, I was picked out, I was targeted, because he drove past me twice.”
And he spoke of his shock when he learned from a report that senior police in the control room did not warn officers on patrol about Moat’s call declaring “war” on the force.
He went on: “When I read that report, honestly, it was like hitting me with a hammer. You can read through the contents of the calls, what Raoul Moat said, word for word. That was the first time I knew that something had gone drastically wrong in that control room.”
The podcast will bring fresh agony for the officer’s widow Kath, who last week slammed ITV for making its drama The Hunt for Raoul Moat, which starred Matt Stokoe and airs tonight, Monday and Tuesday.
Now a grandmother — her daughter Mia, 24, has a son, Ronnie, aged 15 months — she is frustrated at the trauma being dragged up again for her family.
Kath, 53, of Blyth, Northumberland, said: “I don’t understand why they are doing this. It’s painful for me and the kids.”
Podcaster Horne said that while the ITV drama was about Moat, his series focused on the police officer.
He added: “These tapes tell David’s story in his own words and reveal the true extent of what he went through after the attack. How deep the psychological impact was and how hard he struggled.
“He used to say to me when I was writing his book that he didn’t care if just one person read it. He just wanted it out there.
“That is why I’m releasing these tapes now – to put his truth out there.”
The Rathband Tapes podcast will be available from Friday