Horrifying CCTV shows moment police officer Matt Ratana shot in custody cell by handcuffed man hiding gun behind back

8 June 2023, 19:21 | Updated: 8 June 2023, 21:01

CCTV of Matt Ratana released

By Jenny Medlicott

This is the moment a police officer was shot by a handcuffed man who had earlier been arrested, as he suddenly uncovered a hidden gun and shot at the officer.

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Matt Ratana, 54, died after he was shot at by Louis De Zoysa, 25, in a custody block in Croydon on September 25, 2020.

De Zoysa is on trial for the murder of the custody sergeant, accused of deliberately shooting the firearm in the direction of the officer's chest.

De Zoysa, who appeared in the dock for the third day in a row on Thursday in a wheelchair and with his right arm in a sling, denies murder and his defence lawyer claimed he did not mean to harm Sgt Ratana.

The jury was shown footage of the moment when Sgt Ratana was fatally shot in the trial on Thursday.

The CCTV footage shows Mr De Zoysa seated on the custody bench, with his hands handcuffed behind his back, as Sgt Ratana entered the room and introduced himself.

He told the defendant: "You’ve been arrested on suspicion of possession of bullets, ammunition and possession with intent to supply class B.”

He went on: “Your detention’s not been authorised yet, but I can authorise a search of you under Section 54 of PACE.”

The defendant was then instructed to stand up for the search, at which point Mr De Zoysa got up from his seat before he suddenly uncovered a concealed gun from behind his jacket and shot Matt Ratana.

Two separate police officers were stood either side of the defendant before tackling him to the ground as they shouted at him to surrender the gun.

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De Zoysa was restrained by two police officers after he fired the gun.
De Zoysa was restrained by two police officers after he fired the gun. Picture: Alamy
A special memorial service was held for Matt Ratana after his death.
A special memorial service was held for Matt Ratana after his death. Picture: PA

Mr De Zoysa continued to conceal the gun and fired it three more times before dropping it.

The second shot was fired during the police’s struggle with the defendant, which hit Sergeant Ratana in the leg – but this was not believed to be the fatal shot.

A third shot was fired in the direction of the wall, and finally a muffled fourth shot, which hit Mr De Zoysa himself.

He was then tasered by a police officer and the gun was kicked away from the defendant and recovered by the officers.

The defendant, who suffered brain damage after the incident from being hit in the back of the neck by a bullet, is on trial at Northampton Crown Court and he has denied murder.

Prosecutor Duncan Penny KC told the court: "Louis De Zoysa was holding the gun in his right hand. He fired the gun directly at the chest of Sgt Ratana."

Mr Penny accused the 25-year-old of making bullets for the antique revolver, concealing the gun in a holster, and getting hold of bullets for it after he had already been arrested and searched.

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Sergeant Ratana was fatally shot at by defendant Mr De Zoysa.
Sergeant Ratana was fatally shot at by defendant Mr De Zoysa. Picture: Alamy
The memorial service was held in November 2021.
The memorial service was held in November 2021. Picture: Getty

The 25-year-old had been stopped by police earlier that evening on suspicion of carrying equipment to facilitate a burglary.

He was spotted carrying a duffel bag by an officer, who was wearing body cam at the time, in the middle of the night and informed him he was going to be detained.

In the lead-up to his arrest, Mr De Zoysa repeatedly tried to reach into his pockets, against instructions, as he asked the officer “can I show you my ID?”

Within minutes of being stopped the defendant told the officer he was going to “confess” and revealed he was carrying “non-medical cannabis” in his bag.

He was then searched by the officer, who asked if he had anything on him that had the potential to hurt anybody, to which he replied “no”, but they later then uncovered what they believed to be bullets.

The gun used to shoot Sgt Ratana was not found in the search and Mr De Zoysa was then placed in a van to transport him to the custody block.

During this earlier footage the male officer who facilitated the search said to his colleague: "I don't trust him at all - he's lied to us non-stop."

Court sketch of De Zoysa.
Court sketch of De Zoysa. Picture: Alamy

Sergeant Ratana suffered a fatal wound to his heart and left lung, as Mr Penny told the court the first shot was fired at 2.09am.

The defendant, who was 23 at the time and living in a flat at a farm in Banstead, Surrey, bought the gun online in June 2020, which was legal to purchase because of its antique status.

While the bullets are no longer available to purchase, Mr Penny alleges he "bought the parts to make the bullets" and made ammunition at the farm.

The defendant attended court in a wheelchair and with his right arm in a sling.

Defending, Imran Khan KC told the jury that his client was suffering an autistic meltdown at the time of the shooting and "did not mean to or want to kill Sergeant Ratana, or to cause him really serious harm".

The trial continues.

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