Night of clubbing ends in brutal killing
By Marisa de Silva and Asif Fuard
The quarrel began after several Cognacs and Tequilas during the bar hop of the city night spots that fateful Thursday (June 30) night. The CID detectives have been looking for one of the most vital clues – the clothes worn by Shramantha Jayamaha, the suspected killer.

This is after detectives found what they suspect are Shramantha’s blood-stained fingerprints on the steel railings of the staircase. This is said to have been confirmed by the Government Analyst. The presence of blood in the area has helped detectives establish the spots where Yvonne’s head has been bashed.

They had identified three blood-splattered spots on the staircase where the victim’s had been smashed. Detectives say soon after the incident, at the Royal Park, luxury apartment complex, Rajagiriya the suspect had left the scene of the crime and got into a friend’s cab, dressed only in his boxer shorts and a dark coloured shirt with his white trousers draped over his arm.

These are the clothes that have now gone missing mysteriously. They say suspicious have arisen over the clothes that Shramantha reportedly wore. They do not rule out the possibility that they were burnt.

Irrespective of the clothing, the CID backed by DNA evidence and support of the Government Analyst has been able to find evidence in its ongoing investigations.

On that fateful night, victim Yvonne Jonsson and her sister Caroline had left their apartment at 8.30 p.m. in a blue jeep owned by their father. Yvonne had been driving the vehicle. They were on their way to attend a party organized by some of their friends.

The first stop they made was at Caroline’s boy friend Shramantha’s place, in Bagatale Road where he lived with his sister. They had all proceeded to the White Horse, a popular pub off Nawam Mawatha, Colombo 2.

Having met up with four of their friends, they had gone to Glow, another club in Galle-Face. But as there had not been much of a crowd there, they had proceeded to Blue Elephant but since there wasn’t a crowd there too they had gone to Holiday Inn where they met a family friend, a Korean girl who also lived at the Royal Park apartments. From there they hit the Blue Elephant once again.

Ten minutes into their stay, an argument had ensued between Caroline and her boyfriend. Yvonne had scolded Shramantha for making her sister cry. The argument between Shramantha and Caroline had apparently been over a boy waving at Caroline. As the argument continued, Yvonne had apparently told the two of them to find their way back home.

The sisters parted company at this point and Caroline and Shramantha had taken a Hilton hotel cab back to the Royal Park while Yvonne and her Korean friend had gone back to the Glow. The Korean friend had left Yvonne at the Glow and gone to the Taj Samudra Hotel. Shramantha and Caroline had arrived at the apartment complex in the cab at 2 a.m. Shramantha had gone up with Caroline to the 23rd floor, and had left her apartment after spending about 20 minutes.

According to police Yvonne had driven into the Royal Park at 2.45 a.m. It was within the next 45 minutes that the whole gruesome tragedy had unfolded.
The CID believe the suspect had apparently waited outside the apartment until Yvonne returned. Upon her arrival an argument had ensued between the two leading to a scuffle, along the stairs. The first evidence of a scuffle — the price tag on Yvonne’s sunglasses, which had probably fallen off her handbag — was found on the 22nd floor. Her ear-rings, bangles and hand-bag were found scattered along the 21st and 20th floor stairways. Detectives believe that the argument had continued from the 23rd floor right down to the 19th floor, where Yvonne’s bundled up body finally lay at the foot of the staircase. Her own stretch pants had been used to strangle her, investigations have revealed.

According to police, at 3.03 am. the suspect had called his friend Mohamed Rilvan. Rilvan had just returned home (on Bauddhaloka Mawatha) from his sister’s house in Greenpath. He was about to turn in for the night, when he received the call from his friend. When Rilvan had said that he was unable to get out of the house at that time, his friend had pleaded with him to pick him up saying, “…you have to come and pick me up. You will be my friend for ever.”

Rilvan had then agreed to come in a cab to the Royal Park Residence.
Having followed instructions to come to the basement and pick him up, Rilvan had looked for his friend there. Having failed to spot him he had called on the mobile, and asked him to meet him at the lobby as he had to get home where his parents were waiting up for him. His friend had then appeared from the lift in his boxer shorts and shirt, with his trousers draped over his arm. Although Rilvan had thought it was a bit strange to see his friend in this state, he hadn’t questioned him.

Thereafter, the two boys had proceeded to the cab. According to the cab driver as soon as the two boys had got into the cab Rilvan’s friend had switched off the hood-light. Thereafter, they had left Royal Park and Rilvan dropped his friend at Bagatale Road.

The suspect was asked to give a statement at the JMO’s office the next day (Saturday July 2), after which he was asked to follow the detectives to the CID headquarters for further questioning. He had later gone to the funeral house with his mother.

Sheila Anthony, a domestic aide was the first to see the body of Yvonne. She told the inquest that she found the body in a pool of blood on the 19th floor.
“I work as a domestic for a Korean family on the 16th floor. I usually work from 9 a.m. to 5p.m. On Friday, July 1, I came to work at 9 a.m. I was asked by the lady of the house to go to the 19th floor to give some things to somebody staying on that floor. I left the 16th floor around 9.30 a.m. Because the lift was taking a long time to come down, I decided to take the stairs,” she told police.

“I took the stairs and when I reached the 19th floor I saw a female body that seemed bent into two lying in a pool of blood. It looked like the body of a girl. I got such a shock that I fell and rolled down the staircase all the way down to the 16th floor. I then informed the manager of the apartment complex, Chandrapala Wanasinghe. He told me that I had probably seen a ghost. He then went with me and identified the body,” she said.

The first Magisterial inquiry was heard on Thursday before Additional Magistrate Amali Ranaweera who ordered that the suspect be remanded till July 18. She also ordered the JMO reports to be produced in court when the case was taken up next.

Mr. Wanasinghe told court that after being told of the body, he rushed to the 19th floor with two others. “The body looked like that of a doll. I later managed to identify the body as that of Roger Jonsson’s daughter Yvonne. Her jeans had been pulled down to her ankles and wrapped around her neck,” he said.

Mr. Wanasinghe later informed the Welikada police.
Roger Jonsson, the father of the victim said he last saw his daughter around 8.30 p.m. on Thursday after he had returned home from the gym.
“Both my daughters were dressed up and ready to go out. I spoke to them and said, “you’ll are going together and make sure you’ll come back home together.”

“The next day I woke up around 6 a.m. and went to my younger daughter Caroline’s room and found that she was not there. I then went to my older daughter Yvonne’s room and found her room door locked. I then asked my wife and she said that they were asleep. When I was about to leave home I found a note on our apartment door, written by Caroline to Yvonne ‘wake me up when you come home.’ I read the note and went to work,” he said. “When I was at work I got a telephone call from a friend of mine who asked me to come home urgently. I reached home about 1.30 from my work place and saw my wife and younger daughter crying in Yvonne’s room.

Then I was informed by the police that Yvonne had been killed and I was asked to follow them to the spot where Yvonne’s body had been found.” The Royal Park, security appeared to be tight soon after the murder, but its Close Circuit TV Cameras had been out for months, though it covered only the lobby area.

Detectives believe that security in the upper floors should be strengthened as many of the areas in the upper floors appeared to be isolated. “People living in these buildings pay huge sums of money and they deserve to be given better security,” a detective said.

The day after

  • The morning after the gruesome murder, the chief suspect in Yvonne’s murder, Shramantha Jayamaha sent an SMS on his mobile phone to Caroline and in response Caroline had said that her sister Yvonne had not yet returned home. Shramantha’s response was that she may be still ‘rocking herself away’.
  • Thereafter, Shramantha was not available throughout the day on Friday to be questioned by the Police, and family members claimed he was out of Colombo.
  • The following day i.e. on Saturday, he had visited the Johnson family at the Royal Park Residence Penthouse to pay his respects to the murdered girl. He is reported to have told the family that he would ‘kill the person’ who had killed Yvonne, if he caught him. He was taken in for questioning by the CID on the same day, and placed under arrest on Sunday.
  • Yvonne was keen to continue her studies in fashion designing. She was due to face an interview at an international College in Kollupitiya, in order to continue her studies in the US.
  • Shramantha Jayamaha, 19 was sacked from Colombo International School on disciplinary grounds.
  • Police suspect the boy was in the habit of taking drugs.

Broken families linked to criminal behaviour
What factors may drive teenagers and young adults towards anti-social and criminal behaviour?

In the absence of a mental disorder, such risk factors include drug and alcohol abuse, parental separation and conflicting family relationships, psychologists say. In Sri Lanka, the commoner factors are parental separation and alcohol abuse which often occur together.

“In our cultural setting, extended families often rally round the children of divorced parents but some lack this support and may suffer from serious consequences as a result”, a clinical psychologist explained.

The impact of parental separation on children may differ, depending on the age of the child at the time of the divorce: infants may not understand the conflict, preschoolers may fear being abandoned, giving them a sense of insecurity in adulthood.

The greatest impact however is on school age children who find coping with parental conflict more difficult than younger or older children. They are old enough to understand that they are in pain because of their parents’ conflict but they are too young to control their reactions to their pain, psychologists explain.

As the child grows older, he or she may feel the loss of parental support in handling emerging sexual feelings, especially if the parent they are living with is of the opposite sex. In fact, research has shown that boys raised by their divorced fathers and girls raised by divorced mothers adjust better than those raised by a divorced parent of the opposite sex.

As these children reach adulthood, they have difficulty in embarking on a relationship with a prospective partner as they will experience doubts about their ability to get married or stay married.

This is because they will try to understand the causes that led to their parents’ separation, remember the conflict and the stress of the divorce and view their own relationships in this context.

As a result, these children experience grief, guilt, embarrassment, divided loyalty and intense anger. These emotions, if wrongly channelled could easily lead to drug and alcohol misuse or anti-social or criminal behaviour, psychologists say. This may be compounded by the single parent being lax with the child’s discipline in order to be perceived as the ‘good’ parent.
Research has however shown that such adverse consequences can be minimised. This is best achieved by the remaining parent exercising firm discipline in a loving and caring relationship with the child where the latter feels secure.

It has also been demonstrated that joint custody by both parents, where the child divides his time equally between parents may in fact be detrimental as this can lead to constant conflicts between the separated partners, thus heightening the child’s anxiety and counselors now recommend custody with one parent.

Children of the poorest and the highest social classes are at risk more than those in between because of the lack of resources in the former and over indulgence by parents and potential for abuse of alcohol and drugs in the latter.

“As our society becomes more competitive with more and more families having both parents leading working lives, the divorce rates have risen. We are now seeing a rise in drug use and delinquent behaviour among divorced parents’ children. This problem has still not attracted enough attention and it is time we do so,” said the clinical psychologist who wished to remain anonymous.
(The writer is a practising doctor and teacher of psychiatry)

Cause of death
The death of Yvonne Jonsson was due to head injuries and strangulation, according to Additional Judicial Medical Officer Dr. M.T.A.B. Abeysingha.
His report also said the victim had many injuries on her neck and added that the precise time of death could be established through an investigation of circumstantial evidence.

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