Croydon: Four crime scenes searched over Sgt Ratana’s death

Police are “painstakingly” searching four crime scenes in connection with the killing of an police officer in Croydon on Friday (September 25).

Sergeant Matiu Ratana died after a 23-year-old gunman opened fire inside the Croydon Custody Centre in the early hours of Friday, while the suspect – who was handcuffed at the time of the shooting – remains in a critical condition.

Giving an update on Saturday evening, deputy assistant commissioner Stuart Cundy said investigators have CCTV from the custody suite and body-worn video from the officers.

The suspect has not been spoken to yet due to his condition, he added.

The four locations where detailed searches are taking place are:

  • Croydon Custody Centre, where the shooting occurred
  • An area of London Road, Pollards Hill where the suspect was initially arrested by officers
  • An address on Southbrook Road, Norbury
  • A second address on Park Road, Banstead, Surrey, where local police officers from Surrey Police are assisting.

Enquiries at these locations include “rigorous forensic searches” which are expected to take days to complete.

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Speaking outside New Scotland Yard, Cundy said the four crime scenes which were being “painstakingly” searched, adding: “We have recovered the gun from the custody suite where Matt was shot and that gun is being forensically examined.

MORE: ‘An inspiring & much-loved figure’: Tributes pour in for murdered Croydon police sergeant

Investigations are continuing into how the suspect, who had been detained in an area of London Road, Pollards Hill for possession of ammunition and possession of class B drugs, was able to access the weapon.

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Deputy Assistant Commander Cundy, who is leading the investigation, said Friday was a “dark and sad day for the police family” and offered his thoughts to Sgt Ratana’s partner, family and colleagues.

He added: “Everyone working on this investigation, from the forensic specialists to the local officers holding the cordons, does so with a heavy heart but a determination to find justice for our colleague and his family.”

Tributes have poured in for the popular officer, who was also head coach at East Grinstead Rugby Club.

Sgt Ratana, known as Matt to family and friends, thought working in the custody suite was his “safest option” as he neared the end of his lengthy police career, friend Neil Donohue said.

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He told BBC Breakfast: “He thought it was his safest option just to see him through to his retirement and no-one expected this to happen – certainly not within the police cells.”

He described the officer as “the most nicest, generous man you could meet”, and said he was “just a really genuinely nice guy”.

Met Commissioner Dame Cressida Dick described Sgt Ratana as a “talented police officer” and said he was “big in stature, big in heart, friendly, capable, a lovely man and highly respected by his colleagues”.

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The suspect also shot himself during the incident at about 2.15am on Friday and is in a critical but stable condition in hospital.

No police firearms were fired and the case is not being treated as terror-related.

He was not regarded a subject of interest by security services, the PA news agency understands, but reports suggest he may have previously been referred to the anti-extremism Prevent programme.

Following the shooting investigators from the Independent Office for Police Conduct (IOPC) watchdog attended the scene.

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