Man accused of killing Sgt Matt Ratana appears in court from hospital bed

A man accused of murdering Sergeant Matt Ratana has appeared in court from his hospital bed.

Louis de Zoysa, 23, is accused of shooting the custody officer in the chest as he fired four times during a search at Croydon Custody Centre in the early hours of September 25 2020.

De Zoysa, who was handcuffed at the time, also shot himself and has been in hospital under police guard since the alleged killing.

He appeared at Westminster Magistrates’ Court by video-link on Wednesday, sitting in a raised hospital bed wearing a grey T-shirt for a hearing which lasted seven minutes.

Asked to confirm his identity, De Zoysa showed a white board, on which his name and date of birth was written, to the camera before his lawyer Haroon Shah gave an address in Southbrook Road, Norbury, south-west London.

Sergeant Matt Ratana
Sergeant Matt Ratana was shot dead in Croydon (Met Police/PA)

De Zoysa was not asked to enter pleas to charges of murder, possession of a prohibited firearm and possession of ammunition without a certificate.

Chief Magistrate Paul Goldspring said the charges can only be dealt with at the Crown Court and remanded him in custody ahead of a hearing at the Old Bailey on Friday.

The court heard New Zealand-born Sgt Ratana was allegedly shot and killed by De Zoysa after he was arrested following a stop and search.

Officers are said to have found seven bullets before De Zoysa was detained and taken to the custody centre.

During a further search, the suspect is alleged to have produced a gun and shot Sgt Ratana in the chest, firing four times in total as he also shot himself, the court heard.

Sgt Ratana was taken to St George’s Hospital, where he was later pronounced dead, while De Zoysa survived after he was treated by officers and London Ambulance staff.

Scotland Yard said he was charged on Tuesday after recent changes to his medical condition.

The force said investigators had been in “close liaison” with the Crown Prosecution Service since the shooting and Sgt Ratana’s partner, Su Bushby, and his son have been updated with the latest developments in the case.

Following Sgt Ratana’s death, Ms Bushby described him as a “gentle giant”.

In a tribute, she said: “Matt was my partner, friend, confidant, support and soul mate.

“He will be greatly missed but never forgotten. Matt will always be in my head and in my heart.”