Lissie Harper, the widow of PC Andrew Harper, has paid tribute to PS Matt Ratana, the Metropolitan Police sergeant who was tragically killed after being shot in the chest as he checked on the welfare of a suspect who had just been bought into the Croydon Custody Suite.
Three thieves killed PC Harper in August last year after he was dragged behind a car for over a mile at 42.5 mph after he intercepted three burglars who had just raided a property.
Paying tribute to the much-loved and highly respected 30-year veteran, Lissie said:
“My heart is broken for yet another member of our blue line family, and all of his family, friends and colleagues who must now accept a life without him in it.”
“This is devastating news. No person should go to work never to return.
“No human being should be stripped of their life in a barbaric act of crime.
“Another hero has been taken from us in unwarranted violence.
“They protect us, but who protects them? Another life is gone in a disgraceful act that reminds us of the danger our police officers face with every shift they begin.
“My heart is broken for yet another member of our blue line family, and all of his family, friends and colleagues who must now accept a life without him in it.
“My thoughts and love are resolutely with them.”
Tributes have come flooding in for the PS Ratana who served in the New Zealand Police Force before moving to the UK and joining the Metropolitan Police.
Ken Marsh, Chairman of the Metropolitan Police Federation, said:
“It is utterly devasting news about the murder of our colleague Sgt Matt Ratana.
“Colleagues across London are in shock and sick to their stomach about the nature of his death.
“All out thoughts – and that of our memebers – are with Matt’s family, friends and close colleagues”.
During his time in the Metropolitan Police, PS Ratana served in the London Borough of Hackney in east London.
Tweeting about the highly respected and well-liked officer, @HackneyMPS tweeted to say:
“For years, this man, this hero, this skipper was the centrepiece of community policing in Hackney.
“He shaped the lives of many. Be that victims, suspects or colleagues. Sgt Ratana was the best. Gone, but most definitely not forgotten”.
PS Ratana was also a keen rugby player and was a Head Coach at the East Grinstead Rugby Club in West Sussex.
Bob Marsh, Chairman of the East Grinstead RFC, said:
“East Grinstead Rugby Football Club are utterly devastated to hear the tragic news that the Police Sergeant who lost his life in Croydon, was our Head Coach, Matt Ratana.
“Matt was an inspiring and much-loved figure at the club, and there are truly no words to describe how we are feeling.
“We would like to take some time as a club and community to begin to comprehend what has happened.
“Our deepest and sincerest condolences go to Matt’s loved ones, family, friends, colleagues and to our community rugby family at this most terrible time.”
A spokesperson for England Rugby added:
“Our thoughts and those of the entire rugby family are with the family and friends of Sergeant Matt Ratana. Head Coach at @RugbyEGRFC who gave so much to our sport”.
Jacinda Ardern, Prime Minister of New Zealand, said:
“Incredibly sad to hear news this morning that a Metropolitan Police officer killed in the UK was Matiu Ratana, a former New Zealand Police officer.
“Sergeant Ratana worked in Auckland City and Counties Manukau until 2008, before returning to the UK.
“To all Matiu’s whanau across the world, we share your sorrow and have all our condolences”.
The investigation into the incredibly popular officers death continues. He was due to retire from the police in two months having served for 30 years.
Some media outlets have claimed that the suspect who shot and killed PS Ratana had previously been on a terrorist ‘watch list’, but the incident is not being treated as terror-related.
Early reports suggest that the suspect was arrested following a stop and search where he was found to have some drugs and two rounds of ammunition.
It has been widely reported that when PS Ratana went to check on the welfare of the shooter, he was then shot at point-blank range in the chest before the coward with the gun allegedly turned the firearm on himself.
Lissie – the widow of killed PC Andrew Harper – is campaigning for #HarpersLaw, which would see those convicted of killing emergency services workers being jailed for life. Find out more at harperslaw.co.uk