Matthew Ratana- A young man has denied murdering a police sergeant, who was formerly Princess Diana’s protection officer, in a shooting at a South London station.
During a plea hearing at Northampton Crown Court today, Louis De Zoysa, from Banstead, Surrey, denied the murder of Met Police custody sergeant Matthew Ratana.
The 25-year-old submitted his not-guilty plea through a video link to a hospital and will now stand trial in the same court on June 6.
Sgt Ratana, aged 54, died after suffering gunshot wounds at Croydon custody centre on September 25 2020.
De Zoysa, who appeared on the video-link in a wheelchair and with his right arm in a sling, was assisted by an intermediary and entered his plea by holding up a whiteboard with ‘not guilty’ written on it.
Sgt Ratana was about to retire when he died.
Following the shooting, he was taken to St George’s Hospital, where he was later pronounced dead.
De Zoysa had a life-threatening injury during the event but survived after being treated by officers and London Ambulance workers.
Sgt Ratana was born in New Zealand and joined the Met in 1991. He previously worked as a bodyguard for Princess Diana, the Queen Mother, and former Prime Minister John Major.
The officer, who lived in Worthing, West Sussex, and was the head coach of East Grinstead Rugby Club, was 300 yards from an IRA bomb that exploded outside 10 Downing Street in 1992.
Following Sgt Ratana’s death, his partner Su 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.”
Met Commissioner Dame Cressida Dick paid tribute to Sergeant Ratana as an “extraordinary person” who was “very good at his job”.
She said: “If some good can come out of this terrible incident in which we have had one of our officers murdered, it would be that more people can understand a little bit about the challenges of police work and to see us police as who we are – human beings, going to work to help people, to support people and to protect people.
“Matt was the epitome of that.”