Police sergeant died from gunshot wound to the chest while detaining suspect

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An "inspirational" Metropolitan Police Sergeant who passed away while trying to detain a suspect died from a gunshot wound to the chest, a preliminary post-mortem examination report has found.

Sergeant Matt Ratana, 54, died at Croydon Custody Centre in south London in the early hours of Friday, September 25, as he prepared to search a suspect who was handcuffed.

The Met Police officer was treated by officers and paramedics at the police premises in Windmill Lanen around 2.15am before being rushed to hospital, where he was tragically pronounced dead.

According to a preliminary post-mortem examination report read at his inquest at Croydon Coroner’s Court on Thursday, October 1, Sergeant Ratana died from a gunshot wound to the chest.

Detective Superintendent Nick Blackburn said the weapon was discharged "several times" in the holding room at the custody centre.

A revolver was later recovered from the scene.

The court also heard that the suspect was cuffed at the time and that no police firearms were discharged in the incident.

Detective Superintendent Nick Blackburn told the inquest the suspect was first detained by police in Pollards Hill in south London at 1.30am.

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The suspect was handcuffed and taken into custody on suspicion of the possession of ammunition and a class B drug.

He said: "Upon arrival (at Croydon custody centre), he (the suspect) was taken to a holding room where he remained in handcuffs.

"The custody sergeant, Matt Ratana, entered the holding room.

"The suspect discharged the weapon several times, during which the sergeant and the suspect were injured."

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Sgt Ratana was taken by air ambulance to St George's Hospital in Tooting shortly after but was pronounced dead at 4.20am.

Following his death Metropolitan Police Commissioner Dame Cressida Dick, paying tribute to the officer, said he was "big in stature, big in heart, friendly, capable, a lovely man and highly respected by his colleagues".

Matt, real name Matiu Ratana, leaves behind a partner and an adult son.

He was shot by a man who was already in custody on suspicion of possessing ammunition.

The 23-year-old suspect – who was in handcuffs – managed to pull a gun out of his trousers before turning it on himself.

He was rushed to hospital where he is still in a critical condition.

No members of Mr Ratana's family, including his partner Su Bushby, were present for the hearing, although Mr Ratana's son in Australia was among those listening in remotely.

Sarah Ormond-Walshe, senior coroner for south London, adjourned the hearing until a further date.

  • Crime
  • MET Police
  • London

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