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Partner of police officer murdered in cell with hidden gun sues force over ‘shoddy’ search

The partner of a police sergeant who was murdered in a custody cell by a handcuffed prisoner is suing the Metropolitan Police over “failures” and says he could still be alive if a proper search of the gunman had been carried out.

Matt Ratana, of the Metropolitan Police, was shot in the early hours of 25 September 2020 by Louis de Zoysa, who opened fire with an antique revolver he had hidden from officers at Croydon custody suite in south London.

De Zoysa, who is autistic, had earlier been arrested and searched but officers failed to find the weapon the 26-year-old had in an underarm holster – despite discovering bullets in his pocket.

Louis De Zoysa, who has been found guilty at Northampton Crown Court of murdering Metropolitan Police officer Matt Ratana
Image: Louis de Zoysa is serving a whole life jail term for the murder

A coroner concluded in November that Sgt Ratana was shot dead in an unlawful killing after his colleagues failed to conduct a “safe, thorough” search.

The Mirror reports his partner Su Bushby, 47, is suing Scotland Yard.

The Met confirmed it had received the civil claim, adding it remains “in dialogue with the claimant’s legal representative”.

The revolver used by Louis De Zoysa to shoot Metropolitan Police officer Matt Ratana
Image: The revolver used by de Zoysa

“If it was an effective search the gun would have been found on de Zoysa and Matt would be alive now,” Ms Bushby told the paper.

“The shoddy and inadequate search by officers was a neglect of their duty and left Matt vulnerable. The number of failures that came out during the inquest has left me devastated.

“I have not been informed by anyone during this time that the actions of the Metropolitan Police may have contributed towards Matt’s death.”

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Matt Ratana: What happened?

In the custody van after his arrest, de Zoysa was seen in footage wriggling and jerking, as he repositioned the firearm into his hands, according to expert evidence at his trial.

After arriving at Croydon’s Windmill Road custody centre, de Zoysa was allowed to walk without an officer gripping his arm, or handcuffs.

De Zoysa later managed to move his handcuffed arms from behind his back to fire at Sgt Ratana, who was hit in the chest by the first of three shots.

A second bullet struck him in the thigh before de Zoysa was wrestled to the ground by other officers, as a third round hit the cell wall.

New Zealand-born Sgt Ratana, 54, had served in the Met for almost 30 years and was three months away from retirement.

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Former tax office data analyst de Zoysa, who was living in a flat on a farm in Banstead, Surrey, fired a fourth shot while on the cell floor, hitting an artery in his own neck and causing him brain damage.

He is serving a whole life jail term for the murder after a trial earlier this year, during which his legal team argued he was suffering an autistic meltdown at the time of the shooting.

Sky News Source