Duke of Cambridge Prince William lays wreath for Worthing police officer Matt Ratana
Sergeant Matt Ratana, a police officer from Worthing who was shot and killed on duty last year, has been honoured by Prince William.
Sgt Ratana, who was well-known as head coach at East Grinstead Rugby Club, died in the early hours of September 25 after being shot by a handcuffed suspect at Croydon Custody Centre.
Earlier today (May 12), the Duke of Cambridge, Prince William, laid a wreath at the centre and was introduced to Sgt Ratana’s partner and some of his closest friends and colleagues.
During his visit, the Duke was greeted by Commissioner Cressida Dick.
Commissioner Dick said: “The awful killing of Sergeant Matt Ratana sent shockwaves through the Met and I know we continue to mourn his loss. Matt left a powerful legacy across the Met and I was proud to welcome His Royal Highness to Croydon Custody Centre and to meet some of Matt’s colleagues and friends.
“Police officers put themselves in harm’s way to keep people safe every day and they can be exposed to very harrowing and traumatic experiences. I am extremely proud of the men and women across the Met who support colleagues who have experienced trauma, breaking down the stigma of mental health and ensuring those who need help are supported. I am so pleased that His Royal Highness could meet those unsung heroes of the Met, looking out for the wellbeing of our officers.”
Sgt Ratana, who was 54, won the Unsung Hero award at the BBC Sports Personality of the Year awards last year for his contributions to rugby.
His partner, Su Bushby, described him as a ‘gentle giant’ with an infectious laugh and a big heart.
The 23-year-old suspect in his shooting was arrested in November and has spent months in hospital after turning the gun on himself.
The Duke’s visit today also saw him meet Sgt Ratana’s line manager and close friend, Inspector Wil Ajose-Adeogun.
He said: “Meeting The Duke today brought back many fond memories of Matt, his enormous energy, his sense of duty and his overwhelming kindness. He was not just our colleague, he was our dear friend. His personality was the life and sound of Croydon Custody Centre and we all miss him dearly.”