Sunday Observer Online


Sunday, 12 February 2012





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Mysterious killings resurface in Kahawatte

It was in April last year when villagers of Niladura in Divulgala staged a mass public protest by burning tyres on roads to vent their anger over the inability of the Kahawatte police to solve the mysterious murders of several elderly women in their areas.

Nine elderly women who lived alone at their homes at Kotakothana -Divulgala, Opatha, Katange and Niladura villages were killed, hacked to death with sharp cutting instruments and their bodies covered with clothes to conceal the wounds.

Following the upheaval in the village, several police and CID teams began investigating the mysterious murders that led to the arrest of several suspects linked to the murders. However, following the arrests, calm returned to the village.

Hardly a year had lapsed, when we hear of the killing of a mother and her young daughter, a schoolgirl who were brutally hacked to death by an assassin while they were at home. Police have identified the deceased as Nayana Nilmini (52) and her daughter Kavindi Chaturangi (18), a schoolgirl of Ferguson College Ratnapura. The deceased were residents of Kotakethana, a hamlet in the Kahawatte area. The mother too had been a past pupil of Ferguson College Ratnapura, according to police.

The gruesome killings of the mother and her daughter came to light when some labourers picking up some firewood at the Opatha rubber estate at Kahawatte discovered the decomposed body of a girl naked, lying abandoned in the estate, around 12.30 p.m.


Policemen from Kahawatte rushed to Opatha Estate following a telephone call by a person who spotted the body of the girl. Police thereafter began a thorough investigation to identify the body which was in a decomposed state.

But no one in the village was able to identify the body until a Pradeshiya Sabha member telephoned the Kahawatte police and informed them that Nayana Nilmini’s body was found lying at her home at Kotakethana.

When policemen from Kahawatte rushed there, they found the naked body of Nayana Nilmini lying on her bed, covered with a bed sheet.

There were several wounds on her head and the body as well. She had been hacked to death with a sharp cutting weapon. There were also patches of blood on the ground along with bloody foot print marks. The fingerprints experts are examining the prints to identify the killer, police said. However, it didn’t take long for the police to make a connection with the bodies of the mother and the daughter who were brutally killed.

Police suspect the mother and the daughter were killed while they were asleep at their home that night on January 31. The killers thereafter had taken removed Kavindi Chaturangi’s body from home and dumped it in an abandoned rubber estate at Opatha, four kilometres away from their home.

The bodies were examined by the Judicial Medical Officer (JMO) Ratnapura to determine whether the victims had been raped before they were killed. a lock of hair found near a fanlight at the home was taken by the police for a DNA test.

According to the police, Nayana Nilmini was an attractive woman with a perfect figure despite her age. Although she came from a middle class family, her decline in life started after her marriage to a man who did not have a steady job.

She had a son Chaturanga Sellaheva (24) and a daughter Kavindi Chaturangani (18) by that marriage. Her son was employed in a private company in Colombo while the mother and the daughter lived at their village home.

Meagre income

Their home was neglected due to the meagre income they received from the breadwinner of their family. Although the father was very fond of his daughter he could do little for her as his income was insufficient. Police are now looking at the possibility whether Nayana Nilmini has had extra marital affairs with other men in the area.

Her husband had neglected her as he lived in Colombo.

Police suspect the heinous crime was committed by a sex pervert or a mentally deranged person. They are also investigating whether the ‘job’ was done by a professional contract killer hired by a third party who had a grudge against the family.

Police teams deployed in the area had found a hand bag containing four sim cards of a mobile phone that belonged to Kavindi Chaturangi.

It was revealed that she had made several phone calls to a schoolboy lover at her school.

Later, police traced the school boy and was able to elicit much information about the deceased girl and her mother. The identity of the boy has been withheld due to security reasons, police said.

Although Kavindi Chaturangi resided at her school hostel she often live d with her mother after attending tuition classes. “She could have escaped death had she lived in the school hostel,” said people in the village.

Nine police teams have been deployed by the Senior DIG, S.K. Shankar of the Sabaragamuwa Range to apprehend the suspects.

The Criminal Investigation Department has also detailed two police teams in the area to trace the killers. Police have also set up police posts at strategic locations in the area to look for suspicious characters.

The Niladura village in the Kahawatte came into the limelight last year when an elderly unmarried woman Opatalage Karunawathie (67) was killed after being hit on her head while she was on her way home around 10.p.m.

The killer dragged her body into her home and then set it on fire.

The killer however was subsequently arrested by the police.


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