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Tempest in Panadura

Infuriated landlord gives way to savage instincts

A ghastly, brutal cold blooded and ruthless killing was reported from Panadura last week. The horrific double murder sent shocks through out the country. The victims were a young muslim couple from Maligakande living with their little daughter in a rented annexe in Kaduruwa, in the Gorakana area.

The couple was brutally beaten up and stabbed to death by a murderous landlord after they had retired to bed that night. What was the motive for slaying the innocent couple? Why did the suspect silence both husband and wife for ever? According to Panadura North police, the accused has had a violent past. Senior Supdt. of Police Panadura U. Dharmasena said the Police are probing whether the suspect was involved in a previous murder.

Was the suspect prone to violence? OIC Panadura North Inspector Jayanetti said that they are investigating whether the suspect was involved in other stabbing incidents. Gamini Mudalali, a small time trader (42) lived in Gorakana, Panadura with his wife Sweeni (37).

The suspect had rented out three rooms in the main house to tenants. One of the rooms was occupied by a Muslim couple with their one and a half year old daughter. Mohammed Deen (39) was employed at a hotel in Mount Lavinia. He lived with his wife Satha in a room in the same house. The adjoining room was occupied by a Sinhalese couple.

The house was more or less a boarding house with three couples occupying three rooms. There were constant quarrels between the Sinhala and the Muslim couple over trivial issues. The blaring sound of a radio was a big issue. The landlord too detested the Muslim tenant for several reasons. He had defaulted rent for several months and was in debt. He also quarrelled frequently with his neighbour.

The Sinhala couple had on numerous occasions lodged complaints at the Panadura North Police station regarding the harassment meted out by the Muslim couple. The landlord too was infuriated when policemen called often at his house to investigate these complaints. He felt embarrassed when policemen called over at his house.

The tragedy occurred last week when the Muslim tenant returned home after a hard days work on that fateful day. He found his room in pitch darkness and knew instinctively that the landlord had cut off the electricity supply owing to personnel animosity. There was no electricity even in the room where the Sinhala couple lived.

In the meantime a heated argument ensued when the Muslim tenant inquired about the power failure from the landlord. The land lord couldn't give a valid reason to him after he disconnected the power supply. However both the Muslim and the Sinhala couples went to sleep that night in pitch darkness.

Around 10.p.m. that day, the landlord stealthily tiptoed into the room of the Sinhala couple and picked up the door pole. He then abruptly entered the room of the muslim couple without any rhyme or reason. The couple was lying on their bed with their little child.

In a burst of anger, he held the pole tightly in his hand and dealt several blows to the heads and bodies of the man and the woman. Then he went into a rage and stabbed the man and the woman several times on the bodies till they bled profusely and collapsed.

The suspect then took away the blood spattered pole and having washed it returned to the room where the Sinhala couple was staying. He told them sarcastically that the pole was free from blood stains as it had been washed thoroughly. While the Muslim couple was being beaten to death, their neighbours had heard them groaning and screaming. The victim had begged of mercy from the landlord not to kill him.

Despite repeated pleas both the husband and wife were done to death by a man with savage instincts. He had no remorse for human life. It is quite evident from the killing of the couple. Nobody knows the reason why he killed the woman. After all the suspect had an axe to grind with the man.

However it would have been a harrowing experience for a little girl of one and a half years to witness her parents being killed in a ruthless manner. The shock and trauma that she underwent will remain in her memory for a life time. Soon after killings the Sinhala couple left the premises and sought refuge at a friend's place that night.

When OIC Panadura North, Inspector Jayantti and party visited the suspect's home at Gorakana, he found the two bodies inside the room lying in a pool of blood. The suspect Gamini Mudalali and his wife was taken into custody. Police recovered the pole and the knife used in the killing.

It was found inside a room. The Acting Magistrate Panadura, Laitha Chandraratne held the Magisterial inquiry. The AJMO Panadura Dr. U. Attygalle held the post-mortem examination. The two suspects have been remanded pending further investigation in to the double murder.

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