Darren Adam 1am - 4am
Sgt Matt Ratana's devastated colleagues buy him final McDonald's breakfast
28 September 2020, 06:59 | Updated: 28 September 2020, 07:42
The colleagues of fallen police Sergeant Matt Ratana have paid a touching tribute to him, buying a McDonald's breakfast and saving a chair for what should have been a shift together.
Sergeant Richard Lovelock said that although the gesture was "daft", it was inspired by a "touching moment" that had helped the team come to terms with Sgt Ratana's death.
Sgt Lovelock posted a picture of the breakfast, which was accompanied by an All Blacks Rugby shirt, in honour of Sgt Ratana's background and enthusiasm for the sport.
"Matt was one of those familiar faces, he certainly wasn't frightened of doing the overtime and he wasn't frightened to travel," Sgt Lovelock said.
"He should have been on shift with me today and yesterday as well and so it was quite sad really, turning up to work and knowing that he should have been there and he wasn't.
"My colleague Chris got him the breakfast because Matt, being the type of guy he was, bought him one when he was last in and said 'don't worry, sort me out next time'.
"They're quits now.
"I know it sounds daft but it's just those touching little moments that have helped us all through yesterday and today."
The breakfast tribute comes on National Police Memorial Day, which has seen multiple commemorations take place for officers across the UK that have lost their lives while on duty.
The post has received more than 3,000 likes and been shared almost 5,000 times on Facebook.
Sgt Lovelock calculated the pay that Sgt Ratana would have earned while working on the overtime shift and has donated it to a JustGiving page supporting the family, which has already raised over £56,000.
Sgt Lovelock has also served 29 years with the Metropolitan Police, the same as Sgt Ratana before his death, and said they had often talked about retirement plans.
"We've got similar interests in rugby and beer and all those things that lads talk about but he genuinely was one of the nicest guys," he said.
"You can see that in the tributes paid to him by so many people.
"We're a team, we work as a team.
"So when the team went for breakfast this morning, we didn't want to leave Matt out so we got him that breakfast.
"The reality is he probably would have needed several."
A man is currently being held and questioned on suspicion of supplying a firearm at a south London police station in connection with Sgt Ratana's death.
The suspect for the shooting - widely reported to be 23-year-old Louis De Zoysa - has not yet been spoken to by investigators due to his condition.
Multiple tributes have been paid to the New Zealand-born sergeant since his death, including from the country's Prime Minister Jacinda Adern.
Metropolitan Police Commissioner Dame Cressida Dick said he was an "extraordinary person" who was "very good at his job".
She said his "terrible" death might bring home to people the challenges of police work, helping them to "see us police as who we are - human beings, going to work to help people, to support people and to protect people".
She added: "Matt was the epitome of that."
Friends and teammates gathered in silence in East Grinstead to pay their respects as the club flag was flown alongside the New Zealand flag and an All Blacks rugby team flag to honour Sgt Ratana's love of the sport and his roots.
Police have previously said they are working with a "determination to find justice for our colleague and his family".