Shramantha Jayamaha and his mother, who long defended him. Photo via The Leader.
In 2005, Colombo saw a gruesome ‘society’ murder when Shramantha Jayamaha killed Yvonne Jhonssen. These 19 year olds were rich, beautiful and ‘of a certain class’ so the brutal killing was a shock to everyone. After a night of club hopping, Shramantha seems to have got into an argument with Yvonne and viciously bludgeoned her head against the concrete and down the stairs, shattering her skull, The Sunday Times has a good timeline, though the analysis at the end is bunk. The news today is that the Court Of Appeal has changed Shramantha’s 12 year sentence to death. Which is pretty intense.
Sri Lanka has had no executions since 1976. The death penalty was only reinstated in 2004 after the killing of High Court judge Sarath Ambepitiya (which I think is I kinda knee jerk reaction) for crimes of murder, rape and drug trafficking. However, the country still hasn’t executed anyone, having recently advertised the job of hangman to, uh, clear an 800 person backlog. I honestly don’t know how to say that. I don’t support the death penalty. It’s a perfect sentence from an imperfect justice system and it’s more about vengeance than justice anyways.
The late Yvonne Jhonssen, photo via expressen.se
But to return. The murder of Yvonne Jhonssen was cruel and sad, regardless of her class. It really was terrifying,
“Her head had been bashed to the floor and her stockings had been removed and tied around her neck. The position in which my daughter lay had been disgusting. I sat near her body for over an hour. How can a father see the body of his child in such a position?” Roger Johnsson cried. (The Sunday Leader)
And here’s Shramantha’s side, in testimony,
The accused explained about the incident on the stairs. Jayamaha said: “When I was smoking I saw some red coloured stains. I did not take much notice of it. Further down I saw a hand bag. I was puzzled. As I went down, I saw the half naked body of Yvonne in a pool of blood. I was shocked and terrified. It was like a dream and started recollecting what I said for three, four days. I went blank. I could not remember any thing. This is all I remember.
“I remembered these only three of four days later. I have had that condition before when I am stressed. Then I lose my memory. I even couldn’t do my studies in Australia because of this. She was a lady I loved. I never thought in my wildest dreams I would see a scene like this. I don’t know what happened to me. I can’t remember anything. I was dazed.
“Thereafter my father called me to go to Marawila about an investment. I went with my father to Marawila to see a land.”
He had returned the next day. He said he was dazed and they stayed the night at a Marawila Hotel and he slept and that he cannot describe how he felt.
The accused said after coming back to Colombo he was told of Yvonne’s death and he went to Caroline’s home. There the CID arrested him and took him to the 4th floor and questioned him. (Daily News)
Which is ridiculous. This could be an excuse as to why you didn’t take the garbage out, but not for seeing a dead body and then going off to see some land. Honestly, totally insane, wracking how many lives. The sentence of 12 years plus a Rs. 300,000 fine must have been galling and the family appealed. I do remember hearing that Shramantha used to get out on furlough and go hang out with friends and go clubbing. Which must have been even worse for the family. Now their appeal has been settled with this most final of sentences.