McDonald's breakfast left on seat of Croydon police officer shot dead by colleagues in touching tribute
HEARTBROKEN cops left a McDonald’s breakfast tribute on the seat of fallen officer Sergeant Matt Ratana after he was shot to death.
Sgt Richard Lovelock said the “daft” gesture was inspired by a “touching moment” that helped the team come to terms with their colleague’s tragic death.
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The New Zealand-born Met officer was due to retire in mere months when he was allegedly shot by a handcuffed suspect in the custody suite of Croydon Police Station last week.
A man named as Louis De Zoysa, 23, is the main suspect for the shooting but is yet to be questioned by cops as he remains in a critical condition in hospital.
Sgt Lovelock posted a picture of the breakfast, which was accompanied by an All Blacks Rugby shirt, in honour of Sgt Ratana's background and enthusiasm for the sport.
'HE SHOULD BE HERE'
He said: "Matt was one of those familiar faces, he certainly wasn't frightened of doing the overtime and he wasn't frightened to travel.
"He should have been on shift with me today and yesterday as well and so it was quite sad really, turning up to work and knowing that he should have been there and he wasn't.
"My colleague Chris got him the breakfast because Matt, being the type of guy he was, bought him one when he was last in and said 'don't worry, sort me out next time'.
"They're quits now.
"I know it sounds daft but it's just those touching little moments that have helped us all through yesterday and today."
I know it sounds daft but it's just those touching little moments that have helped us all through yesterday and today
The breakfast tribute post received more than 3,000 likes and been shared almost 5,000 times on Facebook.
Sgt Lovelock calculated the pay that Sgt Ratana would have earned while working on the overtime shift and has donated it to a JustGiving page supporting the family, which has already raised over £56,000.
Sgt Lovelock has also served 29 years with the Metropolitan Police, the same as Sgt Ratana before his death, and said they had often talked about retirement plans.
"We've got similar interests in rugby and beer and all those things that lads talk about but he genuinely was one of the nicest guys," he said.
"You can see that in the tributes paid to him by so many people.
"We're a team, we work as a team.
"So when the team went for breakfast this morning, we didn't want to leave Matt out so we got him that breakfast.
"The reality is he probably would have needed several."
The man who shot Sgt Ratana is alleged to have hidden a small pistol in his trousers and it was not detected by a special constable during a routine stop and search.
Tributes have flooded in for the cop, who in the 90s worked alongside a Met team guarding VIPs including Princess Diana, the Queen Mum and PM John Major.
It emerged yesterday that he cheated death on duty in 1992 — when he was just 300 yards from an IRA mortar attack on No10.
The brave officer ran towards the scene as passers-by fled.
In an interview in 1996, the modest officer said: “You’re only there to provide one thing and that is protection, no matter who it is.”
He added: “I’ve got this photo of me as a kid wearing a police helmet. One of my uncles sent it over.
“I don’t remember growing up wanting to be a policeman, but now that I am I wouldn’t change it for anything.”
- The JustGiving page for Sgt Ratana's family is at www.justgiving.com/crowdfunding/croydoncustody
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