Murder Most Foul
By Nirmala Kannangara
Prashan Kumaraswamy- the son who is the main suspect of the Kumaraswamy family who were found murdered in an annexe in Wellawatte was arrested on Friday.
An officer from the Police Media Unit said that Kumaraswamy was arrested while traveling in a bus from Fort to Kurunegala.
“He was handed over to the Colombo Crime Division (CCD) for investigation,” the police officer said.
Sangili Kumaraswamy, his wife Puuwathi and daughter Amitha Priya are believed to have been killed on August 14.
Since the triple murder, the annexe in which the bodies were found has not yet been cleaned due to ongoing investigations. The unbearable stench that come from the one bed roomed annex at Ramakrishna Terrace, Wellawatte has put Gnanasekeram Sandeepan family and the neighbourhood in immense difficulty, as the police sealed it until further investigations are completed.
“We cannot stay here with this stench. This annex is part of our house and since it is sealed and is not cleaned after the decomposed bodies were removed, the disgusting odor that comes from the annex is unbearable and we could fall sick at any time. Although the police wanted us not to make any changes even at our house, we had to take the permission to wash and clean this side as flies are coming to our house from the annex,” said Sandeepan the landlord.
When this reporter visited the scene five days after the bodies were removed, Sandeepan family was washing every nook and corner of their house covering their noses and mouths to escape from the awful stench.
“We rented out that annex to Kumaraswamy one year ago. He is a pharmacist in a private company. We hardly see Kumaraswamy or hear his voice as his doors were closed most of the time. But a few days before the bodies were found, we heard someone was laughing loudly but didn’t take much notice. Surprisingly we didn’t hear any screams or get any smell from Kumaraswamy’s annex which is separated from our living room wall. Until police came we did not know anything,” said Sandeepan.
Police investigations are underway to find out as to how Sangili Kumaraswamy, his wife Puuwathi and daughter Amitha Priya died and as to what happened to their 26 year old son Prashan Kumaraswamy who was residing at the annex.
“Fifty eight year old Kumaraswamy, his 56 year old wife Puuwathi and 25 year old daughter Amitha Priya had come to Colombo from Kotagala on August 12 and was staying at the annex when this unfortunate incident happened to them. The police cannot still say whether they were murdered or commited suicide until the Government Analysts report is submitted to the Magistrate tomorrow,” said Police Spokesman SSP Ajith Rohana.
According to SSP Rohana, all scientific evidences have been collected from the scene and statements from the neighbours have been recorded for further investigations.
“Although we exactly cannot say this is a murder, then who covered the three bodies with a white cloth is one of the questions that has arisen.
If it was a suicide they wouldn’t have covered their bodies before committing the crime.
Anyhow, somebody has sprayed perfume all over the room; several
packets of camphor, joss sticks, a bottle of white powder and several varieties of sleeping tablets were found in the room. Our next question is whether the son has being kidnapped or whether he is in hiding after these mysterious deaths,” said SSP Rohana.
He further said that suspecting Prashan Kumaraswamy, the police have taken a court order from the Hulfsdorf Magistrate to stop Prashan from leaving the country.
“However the police found Prashan’s passport which could have been left in the room to mislead the police. That was why such an order was taken immediately,” said the SSP.
According to SSP Rohana, neighbours of Sangili Kumaraswamy in Lindula, Kotagala have seen Prashan coming home when the parents were in Colombo and leaving the house with a traveling bag.
“When the Kotagala house was searched after the three bodies were found, it had being ransacked. Since there is evidence that Prashan was seen there while the parents were in Colombo, we suspect Prashan to have had a hand to these mysterious deaths,” said the police spokesman.
Sangili Kumaraswamy was a driver at the Derrick Clare Estate for 35 years before retiring recently. he said he believed that Kumaraswamy had come to Colombo to get his ETF. His daughter too was a trainee employee in the same estate.
“We also came to know that the son had a dispute with the father over a property and also over a love affair to which the family was against. However the police recorded statements from two females believed to be Prashan’s female companions,” said the SSP.
According to the police, it was a friend of Prashan that has informed the police about the awful smell.
“This friend has tried to contact Prashan for few days over a business issue and had gone to the annex to meet Prashan. The Police broke the door and entered the annex, we found the partially decomposed bodies wrapped in a white cloth. We assume the deaths have taken place three or four days before. However it is surprising as to how the neighbours did not get any smell from the annex. The owners of the annex lived next door and there were many tenants living in this house. But none of them could smell this,” said SSP Rohana.
Meanwhile Sandeepan said that all her tenants have left failing to bear the stench and added that her family too stays the night at a relative’s residence because of the unbearable smell.
“Not only have my tenants but also those who were living at the adjoining houses left because they could not stand the smell. We too are scared to live in this house now. That is why we go to a relative’s house to stay the nights and comeback the following morning,” she said.
Another neighbour whom we spoke to, said that his family too has not heard any noise from the annex nor any smell until the police broke the door and found the bodies.