A Metropolitan Police officer who was shot dead in a police station in south London this week wanted to marry his partner, it has been reported.
Matiu Ratana, 54, was planning to propose to Sue Bushby, 44, after “six wonderful years”, her mum said.
Sergeant Ratana – who was known as Matt to his friends and family – was shot dead at Croydon Custody Centre in the early hours of Friday.
The suspect, a 23-year-old, was handcuffed at the time of the shooting and also shot himself.
He now remains in critical condition in hospital, Scotland Yard confirmed.
Sue’s heartbroken mum Penelope said Matt had been by her daughter’s side all the time and had been a source of strength for her after she lost her father Roy earlier this year.
Mrs Bushby, 81, said: “He was a very lovely man. He loved my daughter and she loved him back.
“He couldn’t do enough for us or anybody who needed help.
“He recently called round with something for my TV and was his usual smiling self. It is difficult to accept that we will never see him again.”
Mrs Bushby said the couple had “talked about marrying”, The Sun reports.
The devastated mum added: “He was an incredibly kind man. He was so good for her. This is a very difficult time for all.”
Investigators probing the fatal shooting of the police sergeant are working with a “determination to find justice” for their fallen colleague, a top officer has said.
Sgt Ratana, 54, was originally from New Zealand and joined the force in 1991.
The Independent Office for Police Conduct (IOPC), which attended the scene after the shooting, said the suspect had been taken into the building and sat in a holding area in the custody suite, then opened fire while still in handcuffs as officers prepared to search him with a metal detector.
He had earlier been arrested by regular officers following a stop and search, then handcuffed behind his back before being taken to the station in a police vehicle.
No police firearms were fired in the incident, and the case is not being treated as terror-related.
Deputy assistant commissioner Cundy, who is leading the investigation, said a gun had been recovered from where the shooting happened, and that CCTV and police body-worn footage is being reviewed and will be considered alongside accounts from officers.
Multiple tributes have been paid to Sgt Ratana including from Met Commissioner Dame Cressida Dick and New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern.
He had moved into custody work because he thought it was safer as he approached retirement, a friend, who described him as “a really genuinely nice guy”, said.
A keen rugby player, he was head coach of East Grinstead Rugby Club, where he was viewed as an “inspiring and much-loved figure”.
The Prince of Wales will lead tributes to fallen police officers on National Police Memorial Day (NPMD) – two days after the death of a police sergeant in south London.
The annual remembrance service, which honours officers who have lost their lives on duty, will be held virtually for the first time in its 17-year history due to restrictions caused by coronavirus.
Prime Minister Boris Johnson will pay tribute to the fallen officers who “represent the very best of us”.
“They laid down their lives to prevent us from coming to harm and we owe them a huge debt,” he said.
“The dedication and selflessness that they showed in serving their communities will never be forgotten.”
Send your news and stories to us firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com and WhatsApp: +447747873668.
Before you go...
Democratic norms are being stress-tested all over the world, and the past few years have thrown up all kinds of questions we didn't know needed clarifying – how long is too long for a parliamentary prorogation? How far should politicians be allowed to intervene in court cases? To monitor these issues as closely as we have in the past we need your support, so please consider donating to The Climax News Room.