PC David Rathband's family have said he was let down by the people that could have prevented his death as they attended his inquest, two years after he was found dead at his home.

The 44-year-old's sisters and father spoke to the media on the steps of Moot Hall, Newcastle, before the inquest began, hitting out at his employers Northumbria Police.

His father Keith said: "The evidence that the coroner has been given identifies that David was let down by the people that could have prevented his death.

Loading article content

"The findings of the coroner may be a foregone conclusion to many. Our hope is he finds David's death was preventable in the circumstances."

Mr Rathband's sisters, Debbie Essery and Julie Reece, joined their father in expressing concerns about previous events.

Ms Essery said: "Northumbria Police investigated a complaint made by David's brother Darren.

"Into those issues the investigation found there was no case to be answered.

"As a family, we do not accept this. The findings of that investigation are contradictory to the evidence the coroner has been given."

The officer's twin Darren has remained in Australia and will not attend the hearing.

Mr Rathband's widow Kath and son Ash entered the building separately from his father and sisters and the two groups sat in different sections of the historic court room.