England’s rugby players paid tribute at Twickenham yesterday to Matt Ratana, the rugby-playing police sergeant who was shot dead while on duty Croydon in September.
The emotive gesture came the day after the police announced that they had arrested a man on suspicion of the murder, which took place at the Windmill Road police custody station.
Sgt Ratana, 54, was shot in the chest as the handcuffed suspect was being taken into custody in the early hours of September 25.
The arrest of Louis De Zoysa has occurred now because the suspect’s condition has “stabilised”, the police said. De Zoysa suffered a gunshot wound and life-changing injuries during the incident.
De Zoysa remains in hospital and detectives will consult with doctors and legal advisers before they begin interviewing him.
Cressida Dick, the Metropolitan Police Commissioner, said, “It’s an important milestone and hopefully it brings some tiny comfort to Matt’s partner Su, Matt’s wider family and everyone who has been affected.
“The investigation is moving on into a dreadful, dreadful homicide.”
An inquest at South London Coroner’s Court in October heard that Ratana died from a gunshot wound to the chest. No police firearms were discharged in the shooting.
The police officer’s funeral took place earlier this month.
Yesterday, England were playing their first international match at Twickenham since March, and they marked the occasion before kick-off against Georgia with a moment’s applause in memory of New Zealand-born Ratana, who was head coach at East Grinstead RFC at the time of his death. He had previously played and coached at Old Walcountians at Woodmansterne.
A statement from the Rugby Football Union ahead of the game explained: “There will be a moment’s applause to celebrate the lives of some of those in the rugby community who were lost to their families and the game during recent times… As part of this tribute, there will be a special mention for the life of Sergeant Matt Ratana, head coach of East Grinstead Rugby Club, who was tragically killed in the line of duty.
“We pay further tribute to Matt Ratana with two police officers – Sergeant Paul James and Sergeant Dan Humphreys – flanking England and New Zealand shirts with a Metropolitan Police uniform in the centre.”
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