LONDON (Reuters) – A British officer shot dead by a suspect at a London police station last week died from a gunshot wound to the chest, an inquest heard on Thursday.
Sergeant Matt Ratana was killed after the suspect, despite being handcuffed behind his back, produced a revolver and shot him several times at a south London custody centre, Croydon Coroners’ Court was told.
The 54–year-old officer was taken to hospital where he was pronounced dead.
Det. Supt. Nick Blackburn told the court the 23-year-old suspect had been arrested after officers found drugs and ammunition on him. The man was taken to Croydon Custody Centre and was handcuffed in a holding room when he produced the gun and shot Ratana several times.
Police said the suspect then turned the gun on himself and remains in critical condition in hospital.
A provisional post mortem examination found Ratana died from a gunshot wound to the chest.
“The murder of Police Sergeant Matt Ratana has deeply shocked and saddened all of us at the Metropolitan Police as it has the whole nation,” Blackburn said.
The inquest, which Ratana’s son joined remotely from Australia, was adjourned for police to carry out their murder inquiry. They are not treating it as terrorism.
Ratana, a keen rugby player, was originally from the Hawke’s Bay area of New Zealand.
A second man was arrested in Norwich, eastern England, on Saturday and is being questioned on suspicion of supplying a firearm.
The killing of an officer is rare in Britain and the murder drew messages of shock and sympathy from the prime minister and other senior politicians.
(Reporting by Michael Holden; editing by Stephen Addison)