Matiu Ratana: Officer’s partner pays tribute to ‘gentle giant’

The partner of a police officer killed in Croydon has paid tribute to the “gentle giant, with his infectious smile and big heart”.

Su Bushby said Sgt Matiu Ratana, who she spent five years of her life with, “touched many, many people’s lives”.

She added: “Matt was my partner, friend, confidant, support and soul mate.”

Sgt Ratana, 54, died in hospital on Friday after being shot as a handcuffed suspect was being taken into custody.

The suspect, Louis De Zoysa, 23, from Norbury, who is thought to have also shot himself, remains critically ill in hospital.

A man was also arrested in Norwich on suspicion of supplying a firearm on Sunday. He remains in custody at a South London police station.

Ms Bushby’s tribute came after MPs in the House of Commons fell silent on Monday afternoon to pay their respects to the experienced officer.

“There aren’t really any words for how I am feeling right now about the loss of Matt; about losing someone I loved and was so close to in such a tragic manner,” Ms Bushby said.

“I know Matt touched many, many people’s lives with his friendliness, patience, kindness, enthusiasm and caring ways.

“I had the pleasure of sharing five years of my life with this lovely man – my gentle giant, with his infectious smile and big heart. I think of him with tenderness and love.”

“He will be greatly missed but never forgotten. Matt will always be in my head and in my heart,” she added.

The Independent Office for Police Conduct (IOPC) said Mr De Zoysa was arrested on suspicion of possession of Class B drugs with intent to supply and possession of ammunition.

The IOPC confirmed he was handcuffed with his hands behind his back and had been taken to the custody centre in a police vehicle, before being escorted into the building.

Meanwhile, police are continuing to search farmland in Surrey which is believed to be connected to the shooting of the officer.

Five police vehicles were seen at the site in Park Road, Banstead, on Monday.

‘Extraordinary person’

In the Commons earlier, Speaker Sir Lindsay Hoyle invited members in the chamber including Home Secretary Priti Patel to pay their respects.

“I am sure all honourable members will wish to join me in paying their respects to Police Sergeant Matt Ratana, who was killed in the course of duty on Friday, and sending our condolences to his family,” he said.

“Yesterday was National Police Memorial Day, and I ask all honourable members to stand and observe a minute’s silence to mark that occasion and to remember Matt Ratana.”

Metropolitan Police Commissioner Dame Cressida Dick described the sergeant as an “extraordinary person” who was “very good at his job”.

She said his “terrible” death might bring home to people the challenges of police work, helping them to “see us police as who we are – human beings, going to work to help people, to support people and to protect people”.

The New Zealand-born officer of almost 30 years was also head coach at East Grinstead Rugby Club, where he was described as an “irreplaceable figure”.

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