Partner of Met Police Sergeant shot dead pays tribute to ‘gentle giant’ as officers line streets

The partner of a Metropolitan Police Sergeant shot dead paid tribute to her ‘gentle giant’ as officers lined the streets in his memory.

Su Bushby’s late partner Matt Ratana was killed at a South London custody centre in September 2020.

A service today in Westminster was attended by Home Secretary Priti Patel, Metropolitan Police Commissioner Dame Cressida Dick and London Mayor Sadiq Khan.

READ MORE: Prince William visits Croydon to pay tribute to Sergeant Matt Ratana who was shot dead in police station

Later in the ceremony, Su said: “I first met Matt in 2015 and I don’t think either of us was prepared to meet our soul mate at such a late age, but we just got along so well from the start.

“At the time I had no idea that this man was going to play such a major part in my life.

Su Bushby attended the service with home secretary Priti Patel, Mayor of London Sadiq Khan and Metropolitan Police commissioner Dame Cressida Dick

“On our first date he took me to his gym; on our first ‘proper’ date I was watching the All Blacks at London’s Olympic Stadium. A sign of things to come maybe?”

She added: “To sum Matt up in a few words is almost impossible but it was clear from the outset that he was a caring, considerate, fun-loving man. His huge smile was infectious.

“Over the last twelve months I have learned so much about the man I loved from so many different people.

“He was my rock, my best friend, my partner, my confidant and my gentle giant. Then he was gone.”

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Sgt Ratana worked for the Territorial Support Group

During his career, Sgt Ratana worked for the Territorial Support Group and formerly in the New Zealand Police where he joined the British High Commission Wing.

Su described his career as “one of achievement and dedication” and said a medal he was awarded by Dame Cressida for his long service and good conduct was a “proud and memorable moment” for them both.

The 54-year-old New Zealand-born officer died after being shot at a custody suite in Croydon, South London, on September 25 2020.

Ahead of the service, Dame Cressida and Ms Patel exchanged a few words with Su at the National Police Memorial.

Around 200 police officers were also there, dressed in full black ceremonial uniform, including helmets and white gloves.

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Police officers from the Metropolitan Police took part in the memorial service

Everyone arriving at the chapel were greeted by a group of trainee police puppies called the Ratana litter.

The German shepherds were named by Su when she and Dame Cressida visited the Met’s Dog Training Establishment earlier this year.

The puppies are named Carter, Matiu, Jonah, Blu, Koru, Valentine and Whanau. The word whanau means family in the Maori language, in recognition of Sgt Ratana’s heritage, while Matiu was his full first name.

Su was hugged outside the chapel by members of the clergy – Reverend David Crees, London District Chaplain, Reverend Prebendary Jonathan Osborne, the Met’s Senior Chaplain and the Archdeacon of Canterbury Jo-Kelly Moore – who led the memorial service.

The hour-long service included hymns, readings and tributes, including a Maori hymn sung by New Zealand cultural group Ngati Ranana.

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After the event, the Home Secretary spent a few moments petting police horses before leaving with members of her security team.

The event was held in place of the full force funeral that could not go ahead due to Covid-19 restrictions.

Dame Cressida described it as a “beautiful memorial service”.

She said after the event: “It was a great moment for so many colleagues to come together, together with Matt’s partner Su and her family and friends. A fantastic tribute, very moving indeed.”

She added: “I met Matt on a number of occasions, I didn’t know him as well as so many others but he had a huge presence, he was a big man, he always had a smile, he was very kind.

“He thought about everybody else all the time. I used to see him on our big public order and events.

“He was a totally reliable presence, hugely experienced, incredibly calm. Just a great, great police officer who inspired everybody he met, police and public.”

Louis De Zoysa, 24, has been charged with Sgt Ratana’s murder.

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