New Zealand’s UK diplomat visits scene of Sgt Matt Ratana death ahead of inquest

Sergeant Matt Ratana
Sergeant Matt Ratana - (Copyright PA Wire)
10:11am, Thu 01 Oct 2020
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New Zealand’s high commissioner to the UK has made an emotional visit to the scene where police officer and countryman Sergeant Matt Ratana was killed.

Bede Corry joined Metropolitan Police Commissioner Dame Cressida Dick to pay his respects at a makeshift shrine in the grounds of Croydon Custody Centre, where New Zealand-born Sgt Ratana – also known as Matiu – was fatally wounded in the early hours of Friday.

Mr Corry laid a wreath and paused briefly in front of the sombre memorial, bedecked with scores of floral bouquets, and surrounded by New Zealand flags and sports jerseys.

He said in a statement: “New Zealanders were shocked and saddened to learn of the tragic death of Sergeant Matiu Ratana.

As someone who was a police officer in New Zealand and the United Kingdom, he uniquely served both countries

“We came today, to the place where he died, to share our grief and convey our condolences to the Metropolitan Police Service and through them, to Matiu’s family.

“As someone who was a police officer in New Zealand and the United Kingdom, he uniquely served both countries. We know he will be deeply missed.

“The High Commission will continue to support the Metropolitan Police Service as they assist Matiu’s family.”

The 54-year-old police sergeant was killed by a handcuffed suspect, widely reported to be 23-year-old Louis De Zoysa, who remains in a critical condition in hospital after he was also hit by a bullet following the killing.

He had been arrested for possession of ammunition and possession of class B drugs with intent to supply following a stop and search, before being handcuffed and taken to the custody centre.

According to the Independent Office for Police Conduct (IOPC), he was taken into the building and sat in a holding area in the custody suite, then opened fire while still in the handcuffs as officers prepared to search him with a metal detector.

No police firearms were discharged in the incident, and the case is not being treated as terror-related.

Colleagues with the Met, local and international sportsmen, and the Prince of Wales were among those paying their respects to Sgt Ratana following his death.

Su Bushby, his partner of five years, described Sgt Ratana as her “gentle giant”, while the House of Commons also fell silent on Monday in tribute.

An inquest into Sgt Ratana’s death is due to open and adjourn in Croydon later on Thursday.

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