A man accused of fatally shooting Metropolitan Police Sergeant Matt Ratana may never be charged as he is brain damaged and paralysed, it is claimed.
Prosecutors have reportedly told police that Louis De Zoysa, 23, will not be prosecuted unless his condition improves.
It is alleged De Zoysa, while handcuffed behind his back, shot himself in the neck after Sgt Ratana was gunned down at the Croydon Custody Centre in south London in the early hours of September 25.
De Zoysa, from Norbury, south London, suffered a stroke which left him with significant brain injuries and paralysed down one side of his body, it is reported.
There are fears he may never be well enough to be charged in the murder investigation and brought to trial for the death of the 54-year-old veteran officer and father, who was nearing retirement.
The Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) has told police that De Zoysa cannot be charged in his absence with murder as he is not mentally or physically fit enough to plead or receive and give legal instructions, the Sun reported.
A legal source told the newspaper: ‘”He cannot even be arrested, never mind be charged and prosecuted.”
Former Metropolitan Police detective chief inspector Mick Nevill said: “The CPS will not charge him unless he goes on to make some kind of recovery, which sounds very unlikely.”
A CPS spokesperson said: “We continue to assist the police following the tragic death of Sergeant Matt Ratana.”
It is alleged a handcuffed De Zoysa reached into his trousers for a gun and fired five shots with his hands behind his back.
Sgt Ratana, who had served with the Metropolitan Police for almost 30 years, died after being shot in the chest.
De Zoysa, who had been arrested on suspicion of intent to supply drugs and possession of ammunition, allegedly shot himself in the neck.
He was in a critical condition when he was taken to hospital, and in the days after the shooting police said they were unable to speak to the suspect.
There were claims De Zoysa was revived by doctors after ‘dying’ in hospital.
He reportedly suffered a stroke after the incident, leaving him with brain injuries and partially paralysed.
His condition is said to have stabilised and his injuries are no longer thought to be life-threatening.
However, doctors reportedly believe he is unlikely to recover.
Floral tributes to killed police sergeant in Croydon
An inquest was told Sgt Ratana fought for two hours before dying from a gunshot wound to the chest after being fired upon “several times” by a suspect in handcuffs inside a police station.
The officer was taken to St George’s Hospital in Tooting but he was pronounced dead at 4.20am, the inquest heard.
The preliminary cause of death given following the post-mortem examination was a gunshot wound to the chest, the hearing was told.
The Independent Office for Police Conduct (IOPC), which attended the scene after the shooting, previously said the murder 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 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.
Sgt Ratana was originally from New Zealand and joined the Met in 1991. He was previously a protection officer to Princess Diana, the Queen Mother and ex-Prime Minister John Major.
The officer, who lived in Worthing, West Sussex, and was head coach for East Grinstead Rugby Club, was 300 yards from an IRA bomb that went off outside 10 Downing Street in 1992.
Sgt Ratana is the eighth police officer in the UK to be shot dead in the last 20 years and the first to be murdered by a firearm in the line of duty since PCs Fiona Bone, 32, and Nicola Hughes, 23, in September 2012.
The Met sergeant is the 17th from the force to be killed by a firearm since the end of the Second World War, according to the National Police Memorial roll of honour.