Detective Superintendent Nick Blackburn provided the following statement today, Thursday 1 October at the opening of the inquest into the death of Sergeant Matt Ratana:
I am Detective Superintendent Nick Blackburn and I am the Senior Investigating Officer leading the homicide investigation into the death of Police Sergeant Matt RATANA who was shot and fatally wounded at Croydon Custody Centre on 25th September 2020.
At approximately 01:30AM on Friday 25th September 2020 uniformed police on routine patrol in the vicinity of Pollards Hill, London, CR4 had cause to stop a 23 year old male, who was detained for the purposes of a search.
During the search, the officers found items suspected of being controlled drugs and firearms ammunition. As a result, the suspect was arrested for being unlawfully in possession of ammunition and for possession of a controlled drug with intent to supply.
The suspect was handcuffed to the rear and transported in a police vehicle to the police custody centre in Windmill Road, Croydon. Upon arrival, he was taken to a holding room with police officers, where he remained in handcuffs while officers prepared to search him.
The custody sergeant, Matt RATANA, entered the holding room as part of his duties when the suspect produced a firearm and discharged the weapon several times, during which both Police Sergeant RATANA and the suspect were injured.
Police and paramedics treated him at the scene and he was taken to hospital by the London Ambulance Service. Tragically, Police Sergeant RATANA’s life was pronounced extinct at 04:10AM on Friday 25th September 2020.
A revolver handgun was recovered from the scene.
The 23 year suspect was detained by police officers and taken to hospital with a gunshot wound and remains in a critical condition. No police firearms were discharged during the incident.
On 25th September 2020 a registered Home Office forensic pathologist conducted the post mortem examination of Police Sergeant RATANA.
Preliminary findings were that the cause of death was a gunshot wound to the chest.
We are conducting a criminal investigation into the murder of Police Sergeant Matt Ratana, which is being conducted by detectives from the Met’s Specialist Crime Command, supported by colleagues from across the Met.
The suspect remains in hospital in a critical condition. Since the suspect was seriously injured while in police custody the Independent Office for Police Conduct have commenced an independent investigation into the circumstances surrounding the incident.
The Met’s murder investigation is pursuing a number of lines of enquiry and is seeking to establish what happened and why it happened. This includes ongoing searches of a number of crime scenes, enquiries relating to the suspect, and reviewing police officers' body worn video and CCTV at the custody centre.
The murder of Police Sergeant Matt Ratana has deeply shocked and saddened all of us in the Metropolitan Police as it has the whole Nation. Be assured, the Metropolitan Police will conduct a thorough and professional investigation into his murder.