Kahawatte killing: A bloodthirsty suspect

A deserter trying to emulate his ‘role model’ of 2008
By Leon Berenger

The man who admitted to the Kahawatte killings, was an army deserter of the same village, who was mentally disturbed and liked seeing blood, investigators have found out.

The 21-year-old father of one was arrested on a tip-off by a member of the regional Civil Defence Force (CDF) last Thursday, three weeks after he allegedly butchered his last victim on June 19 on Opeta-Kahawatte estate.

According to police, he was most forthcoming in admitting to killing two women, and even demonstrated to investigators the modus operandi of the gruesome murder of his victim’s.

His first victim- O.P. Karunawathie, 56, a distant relative of the suspect, was killed in mid May inside her own house where she lived alone, followed by the second killing of 54-year-old Jayanthi Menike on June 19.

He told sleuths from the Criminal Investigation Department (CID) that he was motivated towards the killings by the earlier slaying of four women by a serial killer on the same estate in 2008. One man was arrested and is currently in jail in connection with those killings.

“The army deserter chose to be a ‘copy cat’, for there was no other apparent reason for his bloody crusade that put the jitters into the entire village for nearly two months,”, a senior policeman said.
Meanwhile, life has slowly returned to normal on Opeta Estate, which was crippled by a fear psychosis that followed the double murder within two months.

However, there still remains a certain degree of tension, and the police, along with the Special Task Force (STF) are continuing with their presence in the area, N.M. Wijepala- head of the CDF in the village told the Sunday Times. He described the suspect as loner known to teasing women in the villages, which eventually led to suspicion, and later, his arrest.

He also showed little involvement during the hunt for the killer, but instead opted to live at his wife’s home in Opanayake, several miles from Opeta Estate, Wijepala added.

He further added that people had returned to work on the tea fields and rubber estates, while students were back in their classrooms, but many still look over their shoulders, while moving around in the village.

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