Unanswered questions over lead up to murder of Sgt Matt Ratana

Sergeant Matt Ratana died after being shot at a custody block in Croydon in September 2020. Credit: PA

Potential “missed opportunities” to prevent the murder of a police sergeant in a custody cell are yet to be examined, a coroner has said. Matt Ratana, 54, was shot dead with a legally bought revolver in Croydon, south London, on September 25 2020. Jurors later found Louis de Zoysa, 26, guilty of his murder before he was handed a whole-life order by a judge last month. South London Coroner’s Court heard today that a full inquest into Mr Ratana’s death will begin at the end of October, but no final decision was made on whether there will be a jury. A decision to hold the inquest under Article 2 of the European Convention on Human Rights, which would mean examining whether the state breached its duty to protect the New Zealand-born officer’s right to life, was also postponed.

Louis De Zoysa being put into the back of a police van before shooting Sgt Ratana. Credit: PA

Senior coroner Sarah Ormond-Walshe said there had not yet been a “substantive hearing” about the “actions of police officers who had contact with Sgt Ratana in the hours preceding his death” and whether there were any “missed opportunities” to prevent it. Sgt Ratana’s partner Su Bushby watched via video link as lawyers representing the Metropolitan Police were told to provide full disclosure and evidence, including unedited body-worn and CCTV footage, to all interested parties by next month.

Imran Khan KC, who represented De Zoysa during his trial, was also present during the short hearing. A further pre-inquest review will take place at Croydon Town Hall on September 22, ahead of a three-week full inquest into his death at the same venue from October 30. The inquest had opened in October 2020 but was adjourned during criminal proceedings.

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