Touching footage shows murdered police officer laughing with East Grinstead RFC family before death

Matt Ratana was shot by detainee Louis De Zoysa whilst he was in custody in Croydon in September 2020. Credit: East Grinstead RFC promo - Rumsey Films

Footage of murdered Metropolitan Police officer Sergeant Matt Ratana shows him laughing with his team members at the rugby club where he was head coach.

Sergeant Ratana was shot by detainee Louis De Zoysa whilst he was in custody in Croydon in September 2020. De Zoysa has today been found guilty of murder.

As well as being a dedicated and respected police officer, Sgt Ratana's other passion was rugby.

He was the head coach at East Grinstead Rugby Football Club in Sussex.

Footage recorded at the club shows him filming promotional videos but the outtakes show him laughing with the team.

  • Matt Ratana was seen laughing with the team during filming. Credit: East Grinstead RFC promo - Rumsey Films

Max Crawley-Moore, first team captain, said: "He was the most involved coach that you could, that anybody has ever played under I think.

"On the training paddock incredibly passionate, determined, was quite hard in places as he wanted us to get it right. But off the paddock incredibly soft, warm and gave you a lot of time."

To honour the New Zealand-born coach, a silhouette was made by one of the players to overlook the pitch.

Matt Marriott, vice chairman, East Grinstead RFC, said: "We decided that Matt would forever like to be looking out over these three amazing pitches.

"And so we made this silhouette of Matt. There he proudly stands and there's nothing like playing on Pitch 1 and just glancing up and seeing the big man looking out...

"Everybody has grown here and he would be so proud just to see the way his family here has grown just the way he wanted it to."

In between police shifts, Sgt Ratana would spend much of his time at the rugby club.

Nikki Ward, bar and events manager, said: "He could turn up at midday and your training session would start at 7 o'clock at night.

"He'd be in the kitchen looking for food. 'Where's the food?' That was quite a common thing with Matt.

"Or you'd find him asleep on the sofa, because he'd finished a night shift and there he is getting a few hours sleep before doing rugby."

Since his passing, the senior team went on a 22-match unbeaten run.

Gaining two promotions - as well as a great cup run that took them across the country.

Vice-captain John Peaty said: "I can't even imagine how over-excited he would have been with some of the fixtures we've had at the end of the year.

"We had an away trip up to the north of England which was seven hours on a coach. I have no doubt that he would have spoken for every single second of that journey about the game and about rugby and about everything to do with it.

"He would have just loved every second of it."

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