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DateLine Sunday, 8 April 2007

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Murder in Megahawatte

Police are searching for the suspects in connection with the gruesome death of forty-three-year old watchman

Sunday Crime by Jayampathy Jayasinghe It was on May 29 that Chief Inspector Senadeera along with other policemen from the Megahawatte police visited Webada in Megahawatte area last week to investigate a case of murder where a body of a man (43) was found lying on the ground outside a house.

The deseased was identified as one Premadasa (43) a watcher of a 10 acre coconut plot at Webada. His wife had lodged a complaint at the Megahawatte police that her husband was hacked to death while she was away at work. She further told police that she had no clue whatsoever about the murder of her husband and the motive behind it.

The woman was an employee of the Free Trade Zone at Katunayake. She often returned home late at night after finishing her night shift. She told police that on the day of the incident she got off the bus at Udupila junction around 10.00 p.m. and trudged all the way home to find the body of her husband sprawled on the ground outside the home lying in a pool of blood. Someone had hacked him to death with a sharp cutting instrument, she told police.

When Chief Inspector Senadeera visited the scene of murder he found a deep gash on the man's throat. Obviously someone had slashed his neck with an axe, he thought. What baffled him and other policemen was that they found some blood stains on some clothing inside the house.

The question that ran through their minds was how the blood got on to the clothing. They became suspicious of the murder and began looking for incriminating clues and evidence.

When the policemen went into the house they noticed the bedroom where the woman had slept with her daughter had been washed thoroughly. They questioned the woman regarding the cleansing of the room and the blood stains on the clothing.

However the woman could not give a plausible explanation to the questions. The policemen thought to themselves that there was something sinister about the whole thing. They became suspicious of the woman and took her along with them to the Meegahawatte police station where they questioned her further.

According to Chief Inspector Senadeera there were complaints made by the woman that her husband had made attempts to rape her daughter on earlier occasions while she was away at work. This was partly because she often arrived home late in the night after finishing her job. The woman however kept a wary eye on her husband's intentions.

So much so that she hid an iron pipe in her garden before she set out for work every day. The idea was to beat her husband if he was found with her daughter when she returned home in the night.

Chief Inspector Senadeera and OIC Crimes Inspector Ranjth relentlessly grilled the woman till she broke down and confessed to them of what happened. She told them that on the night of 29 March after returning home she hacked her husband Premadasa to death when she found him in bed with her daughter. Not satisfied with the explanation they further grilled her and found that she had lied. She finally admitted that her son along with two other persons had committed the murder. But police could not question the accused as they were missing from their homes.

Later the woman admitted to Chief Inspector Senadeera that she was merely trying to shield her son because he was to be enlisted in the army. But the most bizarre fact the Meegahawatte police learnt was when they informed relatives of deceased Premadasa about his tragic untimely death.

His relatives lived in the Pitigala police area. But pat came the reply from the Pitigala Police that Premadsa was very much alive. Megahawatte police, bemused about the whole affair grilled the woman suspect over again about her relationship with the watcher.

It took some time for the police to untangle the sordid affair. It then transpired that the deceased watcher was one Jayaratne, who was the paramour of the woman who lived at Webada, Megahawatte.

The woman confessed to the police that her legal husband Premadasa had eloped with Jayaratnes's wife some time ago and was living illegally as husband and wife in the Pitigala area. The woman's daughter and his son were the children of her legal husband, Premadasa.

Meanwhile, the Megahawatte Police are searching for the woman's son and three other persons from the same village in connection with the gruesome murder. OIC Megahawatte Police Chief Inspector W. P. J. Senadeera said that they would move for a DNA test through the courts to ascertain the killers of the watcher, Jayaratne.

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