New Zealand high commissioner joins Scotland Yard chief Cressida Dick on emotional visit to scene where Sgt Matt Ratana was shot dead, ahead of his inquest later today
- Bede Corry paid his respects to slain policeman Matt Ratana in Croydon today
- He told how those in New Zealand were ‘shocked and saddened’ by his death
- Inquest into Sgt Ratana’s death is due to open and adjourn in Croydon today
New Zealand‘s high commissioner to the UK has made an emotional visit to the scene where custody officer Matt Rantana was shot dead, ahead of an inquest later today.
Bede Corry joined Metropolitan Police Commissioner Dame Cressida Dick to pay his respects at Croydon Custody Centre in London, where New Zealand-born Sgt Ratana was shot by a handcuffed suspect in the early hours of Friday.
During the visit, Mr Corry laid a wreath at a memorial to the slain officer which is surrounded by floral tributes, sports memorabilia and New Zealand flags.
He told how those in his homeland were ‘shocked and saddened’ to hear of Sgt Ratana’s death, which took place after five shots were fired inside the custody suite at 2.15am on Friday.
New Zealand High Commissioner Bede Corry and Metropolitan Police Commissioner Cressida Dick look at tributes to Sergeant Matt Ratana at Croydon Custody Centre in south London
During the visit, Mr Corry laid a wreath at a memorial to the slain officer which is surrounded by floral tributes, sports memorabilia and New Zealand flags
Mr Corry added: ‘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.’
Metropolitan Police officer Sgt Ratana was killed when alleged gunman Louis De Zoysa, 23, who had been arrested for alleged possession of ammunition and Class B drugs in south London, was brought into his police station in Croydon.
Despite being cuffed and searched outside, the suspect is believed to have smuggled a revolver inside and shot Sgt Ratana as he took his temperature to comply with Covid regulations.
He told how those in his homeland were ‘shocked and saddened’ to hear of Sergeant Ratana’s death, which took place after five shots were fired inside the custody suite at 2.15am on Friday. Pictured: Tributes to Sgt Ratana
Metropolitan Police officer Sgt Ratana (pictured with his parter Su Bushby) was killed when alleged gunman Louis De Zoysa, 23, who had been arrested for alleged possession of ammunition and Class B drugs in south London, was brought into his police station in Croydon
Police searches have been taking place at Banstead in Surrey as well as in South London
Five shots were fired at 2.15am on Friday, including one which left De Zoysa in hospital. Detectives have as yet been unable to speak to him.
No police firearms were discharged in the incident, and the case is not being treated as terror-related.
Another man arrested following the fatal shooting of Sgt Ratana on suspicion of supplying a firearm was released on bail on Wednesday.
The man from Norwich was bailed until October as police searches continued at the home of alleged gunman De Zoysa, 23, in Norbury, South London.
Detectives investigating the murder of Sergeant Ratana at Croydon custody centre last Friday have also been searching an area in Banstead, Surrey.
The Banstead location includes access to several derelict buildings and more than 30 acres of land, with police saying the ‘complex’ search will take days to complete.
The custody centre remains a crime scene, while searches in Pollards Hill, where De Zoysa was arrested, and a location in central London have also been carried out.
New Zealander Sgt Ratana, 54, was shot as he was preparing to search a handcuffed suspect who had managed to smuggle a revolver into a custody suite
Another man arrested following the fatal shooting of Sgt Ratana on suspicion of supplying a firearm was released on bail on Wednesday. Pictured: Mr Corry and Cressida Dick today
New Zealand High Commissioner to London Bede Corry lays a wreath for Sergeant Matt Ratana at Croydon Custody Centre
It came as further details about De Zoysa emerged on Tuesday, including that he excelled at the Catholic John Fisher School in Purley, South London.
De Zoysa, whose school yearbook entry said he was ‘good with weapons’, went on to study mechanical engineering at University College London.
Friends said he was very intelligent but dropped out after just a year. De Zoysa and his four siblings were brought up by their translator mother and yoga teacher father.
Friends have previously spoken of their middle-class lifestyle and his younger brother now attends Oxford University.
But one neighbour who knew the family well said the De Zoysa house was notorious in the street for loud arguments and aggressive dogs which were bred for money.
Speaking yesterday, the source said that his father Channa, from Sri Lanka, struggled to hold down regular employment.
The neighbour also claimed to have witnessed arguments which spilled out into the street.
Five shots were fired at 2.15am on Friday, including one which left alleged gunman Louis De Zoysa (pictured) in hospital. Detectives have as yet been unable to speak to him
Police searches continued yesterday at the home of De Zoysa, 23, in Norbury, South London
Detectives investigate at the scene of the alleged gunman’s family home in London yesterday
It backs up reports that De Zoysa’s British mother, Elizabeth, took out a restraining order against her husband in 2015. This was withdrawn last year when they reconciled.
The neighbour added that she filed a police report when De Zoysa was in his early teens, claiming to have heard gun shots from the garden of the property.
‘Some neighbours felt bullied by them,’ she said. ‘The family were known because their dogs would bark all the time. They were like wild guard dogs.
‘The family had some really bad problems. I would often hear loud arguments with very strong language. ‘
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 him 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 today.