Man is charged with the murder of Met Police Sergeant Matt Ratana ten months after fatal shooting

A 23-year-old man has been charged with murdering Metropolitan Police officer Sgt Matt Ratana, who was shot dead at Croydon custody suite in September last year. 

Louis de Zoysa, from Banstead, Surrey has been in hospital since the incident having also received a gunshot wound. 

He has remained under police guard but was not well enough to be formally charged.

However following discussions with his medical team the Crown Prosecution Service announced that he had now been charged with murder and firearms offences.

A Met spokesman said: "Homicide detectives investigating the fatal shooting on 25 September 2020 of their colleague Sergeant Matt Ratana have today charged Louis de Zoysa, 23 of Park Road, Banstead, Surrey with his murder, as well as possession of a firearm and possession of ammunition.

Since the incident, de Zoysa has remained in hospital in a stable, non-life threatening condition, with the ‘PACE’ clock paused but under police guard. "Police have been in close liaison with his medical team and the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) throughout.

"Recent changes to his condition and a charging decision by the CPS have resulted in de Zoysa being charged with murder and the other offences on Tuesday afternoon.

"The defendant will appear before Westminster Magistrates’ Court on Wednesday, 30 June via video link. Scotland Yard said Matt’s partner and son had been updated on the development. 

Matt Ratana: The sports-mad Kiwi who served the people of his adopted country

Born in New Zealand, Mr Ratana was brought up in the picturesque Hawke’s Bay area of the North Island and educated at Palmerston North Boys High School where he excelled at sport, especially rugby.

While studying town planning at Otago University, he played club rugby for Ravensbourne RFC and, after graduating in 1989, moved to the UK, where he was signed by London Irish.

In December 1991, having fallen in love with Britain, he decided to stay and joined the Metropolitan Police Service as a constable. He married his girlfriend, Theresa, in Slough in 1992 and they had a son the following year.

Despite his policing career, the talented loosehead prop always found time for rugby, playing for a string of clubs around the south of England. As his playing career tailed off he moved into coaching and had most recently been based at East Grinstead Rugby Club.

Gareth Davies, a Telegraph journalist who was coached by him during his time at Hove Rugby Club, said he was a "giant man with a giant heart".

He said: "Matt was just one of those top blokes who was instantly likeable. When I was struggling for confidence, he would not only sense that I was low but know exactly what to say to remind me I was good enough.

"He commanded respect. He was hard as nails but selfless beyond measure. A giant of a man with a giant heart."

Starting off his policing career at Charing Cross, in central London, Mr Ratana later joined the Territorial Support Group before moving to the Safer Neighbourhood team in Hackney.

Passionate about making a difference and helping people, he eventually took on the challenging role of custody sergeant at the busy station in Croydon. The role involved checking in suspects who had been arrested and ensuring that they were being kept safe.

One colleague said: "The appalling irony about this is that as custody sergeant Matt was there to be the guardian of the suspect, to protect him and guarantee his rights."

A former colleague who worked with him from the beginning of his career said he "cared passionately" about his job.

"There are people who you could cut in half and they would bleed blue," he said. "Matt was one of them. He was always up for a joke and a laugh and a squeeze, but he was absolutely serious about police work. It’s heartbreaking for his colleagues."

Mr Ratana, whose has a son, had been in a relationship for the past four years with Sue Bushby.

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