THE police officer shot by fugitive gunman Raoul Moat has revealed how a vision of his children saved his life.

PC David Rathband said he knew he was bleeding to death after he was shot in the face as he sat unarmed in his patrol car last month.

Slumped in the footwell, the father-of-two felt his life ebbing away as blood poured from his wounds.

As Moat left him for dead, he was able to call for help on his radio. It was then that a vision of son Ashley and daughter Mia filled his mind.

They began to speak and Ashley, 17, reached out to grab hold of his father to stop him slipping away.

PC Rathband has been left blind despite the best efforts of surgeons at the Royal Victoria Infirmary, Newcastle.

In an interview to be shown this evening on ITV’s Tonight programme, he spoke of his determination to live as full a life as possible.

Former nightclub doorman Moat, 37, shot former partner Sam Stobbart, 22, in Birtley, Gateshead, and killed her new boyfriend, Chris Brown, 29.

The next day, Moat, who shot himself in Rothbury, Northumberland, after a week-long manhunt, shot PC Rathband twice as he sat in his patrol car on an A1 roundabout in Newcastle.

PC Rathband said: “It’s at that point where I think I faced death alone and was quite frightened.

‘‘I saw my two children and they were floating past me from my left to right as I sat there and they stopped.

‘‘I can remember my son and daughter speaking to me and I couldn’t speak to them.

I was drifting away, and as I was drifting away, my son stood up and grabbed hold of me.

“My daughter was standing next to him and then I heard the sounds of the sirens.”

He was discharged from hospital two weeks ago, but has returned for further operations.

He plans to return to work with the force, and said: “I am just looking forward to the day where I can wake up in the morning and actually feel well.”

His daughter, Mia, 12, described him as the most loving dad ever, while son Ashley said: “The fact that he’s here today downstairs walking about, it’s fantastic. I can’t describe it.”

PC Rathband said: “That I am living now is my bonus.”

The interview will be shown on ITV1 at 7.30pm.

■ Police have confirmed that a cash reward offered for information about Moat has been paid.

Police have not said who has received any money or whether the full £10,000 reward has been paid.