Gunman who shot dead cop Matt Ratana in custody suite while handcuffed using antique revolver GUILTY of murder | The Sun

A GUNMAN who shot dead a cop inside a custody suite in the first-ever killing of its kind has today been found guilty of murder.

Louis de Zoysa, 25, was still handcuffed when he pulled out a hidden antique revolver and fired four shots.

Sergeant Matt Ratana, 54, was blasted two times during the horror at Croydon Custody Centre on September 25, 2020.

The third bullet struck a wall, with the fourth hitting De Zoysa in the face causing brain damage.

De Zoysa, who now uses a wheelchair and has a whiteboard to communicate, has today been convicted of murder after just over five hours of deliberation.

He nodded twice to show he had heard the verdict as Sgt Ratana's partner, Su Bushby, and Met Commissioner Sir Mark Rowley watched from the public gallery.

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Speaking after the verdict, emotional Su paid tribute to her partner.

She said: "Today is about justice for Matt. His life was taken too soon in the line of duty doing a job that he loved – a cruel end to a lifetime of service and dedication protecting others."

"Whilst the court case has concluded, the constant feeling of grief and loss continues.

"My love for Matt, my gentle giant, will never end. He will never be forgotten."

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Chilling footage played to jurors showed the killer pulling out the gun inside the custody suite before firing into Sgt Ratana's chest.

Two other officers then wrestle De Zoysa to the ground as a third bullet hits the wall of the cell.

The bodycam footage shows the cops continuing to grapple with the killer as they attempt to Taser him.

In the 16 seconds after the third shot was heard, De Zoysa blasted himself in the face.

The gunman had been stopped by police in Norbury, South London, at 1.30am.

Officers arrested him after finding cannabis and several bullets but the gun was not discovered during the stop-and-search.

The revolver was likely concealed in a holster "under one of his armpits", the court was told.

Tragically, Sgt Ratana had moved to work in custody because it was safer before his killing.

The cop, who had served with the Met since 1991, was the first ever officer to be killed inside a British police station.

Imran Khan KC, defending, claimed De Zoysa said he was suffering an autistic meltdown at the time and “did not mean to or want to kill Sgt Ratana, or to cause him really serious harm”.

But prosecutors argued he “pulled the trigger on purpose four times” while he was handcuffed in the holding room.

Questions over hidden weapon

By Mike Sullivan

Questions were raised over how two officers failed to find De Zoysa’s gun concealed in a holster under an armpit when they arrested him for possession of eight bullets and supplying cannabis.

He was stopped and questioned at 1.30am in Norbury, South London, after arousing suspicion that he could  have been a burglar.

The Independent Office for Police Conduct investigated and found PC’s Rich Davey and Samantha Still “could have conducted a more thorough body search of De Zoysa on the street.”

IOPC Director of Operations, Amanda Rowe, also said the officers had not strictly followed training requiring a suspect’s torso to be patted down in quarters, front and back.

She added: “Given that we now know De Zoysa wore a gun holster beneath his coat, it is possible the search would have yielded different results if the coat was removed.”

But the watchdog concluded of the arresting officers that  “that neither their actions nor omissions breached the police standards of professional behaviour” and recommended both receive more training on body searches.

The IOPC also commended the two cops for “their incredible bravery” after diving on De Zoysa to try and disarm him after he shot Matt.

Ms Rowe said: “They acted without hesitation, despite the significant danger they were placed in at the time.”

In the wake of the tragedy, the watchdog has recommended handheld search wands are introduced for all police responder vehicles and transporters across England and Wales.

London’s Met Police have already handed out 4,300 metal detector wands to officers and introduced an airport-style scanner at one South London custody suite.

Last night it emerged there have been six other incidents since 2017 in which arrested suspects have concealed knives, razor blades and a syringe and then self-harmed while in custody.

The IOPC said De Zoysa’s hypermobility – diagnosed as a child – was a factor in him being able to remove the gun from the holster while handcuffed.

De Zoysa had bought the antique revolver legally at an online auction in June 2020.

Although bullets to fit the gun are no longer available, he bought parts to make the equipment and manufactured them at home in Banstead, Surrey.

Sgt Ratana had tragically been planning to propose to his partner of six years Su Bushby when he was killed.

Commissioner Sir Mark Rowley said: “I first met Su – Matt's partner – in my second week as Commissioner when I visited Croydon to pay my respects to Matt on the anniversary of his murder. I am inspired by the strength she showed then and even more so by the strength she has shown in recent weeks.

“I cannot begin to imagine how difficult this ordeal has been for her and for all of Matt’s family and friends. We will continue to offer them every possible support into the future.

“Matt dedicated almost 30 years to policing and was nearing retirement when he was tragically murdered. He was an outstanding officer who brought joy to his work, treating everyone with respect, compassion and good humour.

“In the days after his death, tributes flowed in from Matt’s colleagues, from communities he had served and from those who knew him in his life outside policing. They were a testament to the man he was.

“Whether it was on the street or in a custody centre as a uniformed police officer, or on the rugby field as a player and later a coach, it is clear he was someone who made an enduring impact wherever he went. We will ensure that he is never forgotten.

“I have also seen the heavy impact that Matt’s murder had on his colleagues, those he worked with in Croydon and also the many officers and staff he had served alongside in his lengthy career.

“That impact is particularly felt by those who were present on the night he was murdered."

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