Sunday Observer Online


Sunday, 27 February 2011





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Government Gazette

A shoe lace brought her death

Vinu Wettamuni (35) was not only a glamorous actress of the silver screen but was also a Television (TV) actress as well and a film producer who was popular among the younger generation who adored her passionately. She was the producer of the Sinhala movie named “Sihina Devduwa” and was also the lead actress of that film. She also acted in other Sinhala films by playing minor roles. The news of her tragic death was received by most news channels on February 17.

She was strangled to death while at her bedroom of her Borupane residence. The assassin who came into her bedroom that night tied a shoe lace around her neck and tightened it until she suffocated to death. The killer pressed a pillow against her face to make sure that she was done away with. He held the pillow until she stopped struggling and breathing altogether and probably left the house in the middle of the night.He was a cold blooded killing by a ruthless killer who had no remorse for her. Police said they were searching for the man who spent a night at her house that day. However, his whereabouts are not known to anyone so far. Police suspect that he escaped that night itself.

Police were informed of the murder on February 16 when Vinu Wettamuni’s son Lahiru Priyashantha phoned the 118 Emergency number and informed them that his mother Vinu Wettamuni had been strangled to death while in her room at Rajasingha Mawatha Borupane Ratmalana. The message was then communicated to the Mount Lavinia police for an investigation. After learning about the murder, several senior police officers including the Officer-in-Charge of the Mount Lavinia crime division visited the residence of Vinu Wettamuni.

The mother of the deceased Matara Arachchige Premawathie told police that her daughter Vinitha Ranjani de Silva alias Vinu Wettamuni had married Ratnayake Mudiyanselage Priyantha several years ago and have a son named Ratnayake Mudiyanselage Lahiru Priyashantha. Although the couple was not legally separated they lived separately due to disagreements between them. She lived with her daughter and her son at Rajasingha Mawatha Borupane Ratmalana. They came into occupation of the rented house a few months ago.

She further told police that on the 15th February a man known to her daughter had called over at their residence around 7.30 p.m. Her daughter was at home when he walked in. While they were engaged in a conversation in the drawing room, two men had arrived there in a vehicle at about 8.30. p.m. They were all engaged in a conversation until 9 o’clock that night. Thereafter her daughter left home with the two persons in the vehicle and returned shortly afterwards.

After dropping her off the two men drove off. However the single man stayed behind and after dinner both of them retired in to two separate rooms. She and her grandson slept in two different rooms in that home.

It was customary for the grandmother to wake up in the morning before others to prepare tea for her grandson and her daughter. Around Premawathie called his grandson Priyashantha to have tea and inquired whether his mother was at home. The son told her that he was not aware of her presence. However, when he walked up to his mother’s room he saw the room being padlocked from outside.

He then broke open the padlock by using a screw driver and entered the room and saw his mother lying on the bed with her face covered with a pillow. When he lifted the pillow he saw a black shoe lace tied around her neck. She was dead and her body was cold with rigor mortis set in. He then rang the 118 emergency number and informed them of what had happened.

The son gave the police his permanent address. His grandmother Matara Arachchige Premawathie had given her permanent address as Jadigoda Dodangoda. She told police that her deceased daughter had provided accommodation to an unknown person that night. She told police that she could identify the person who spent the night with her daughter. She further said that the visitor had been watching television in the drawing room till late in the night. She had then advised him to retire to his room and get some sleep. Finally around 11.p.m. the man had switched off the television and went to sleep.

According to Police Vinu Wettamuni was charged with Criminal Breach of Trust of Rs. 8,000 before the Mount Lavinia Magistrate. The case was to be taken up for hearing on May 23. The Mirihana police Vice Squad raided a brothel run by her at Atthidiya Road, Dehiwela on 27 August 2009, and took her into custody along with 12 persons involved in the brothel. The brothel was run under the guise of running a massage parlour. Police charged her and others before the Mount Lavinia Magistrate. The case ended when she and others pleaded guilty to the charges. Vinu Wettamuni was fined Rs 75,000 while others were fined Rs 50,000 each for running a brothel.

Meanwhile the investigation into the gruesome murder of the film actress was conducted under the supervision of Senior DIG Western Province K.P.P.Pathirana and DIG - Greater Colombo Daya Samaraweera. Officers from the Mount Lavinia police crime division was assigned with the task of investigations the murder. Sub Inspector Samaraweera and Police Sergeant Gunatilleke began their investigating after visiting the residence of the deceased.

They found several fingerprints on the door of the cupboard. The Police sniffer dog Rukkie was brought to the house to pick up any lead. The dog having picked up a scent from sarongs left behind by the suspect in the room went to the bathroom outside the house. Thereafter the dog went out from the main gate and proceeded about 50 yards along Borupanne road to the Trishaw stand. The Moratuwa Magistrate Ranjan Somasinghe visited the scene and made his observations. The autopsy was conducted by Dr. Hewa Madduma the AJMO of the Kalubowila hospital. The AJMO in his report had stated that the death was due to strangulation of the neck.

The deceased’s mother told police that she cannot remember the stranger visiting their home before. She also told police that her daughter has had an illicit affair with a man named Indika from Kandy.

Indika who quarrelled with her daughter had assaulted her on a previous occasion.

Meanwhile, a manhunt was launched for the arrest of the suspect who spent the night at the residence of Vinu Wettamuni.



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