By Paneetha Ameresekere
A week after the rape of an 18-year-old Swiss woman at knifepoint at ‘Single Tree,’ a lonely but scenic suburb of Nuwara Eliya on 4 January, the Police have still not been able to make a breakthrough, Senior Superintendent of Police – Nuwara Eliya, Mahinda Dissanayake said yesterday (11).”We suspect that the criminal has fled the area,” he said. “We have drawn a sketch of the suspect based on the evidence supplied by the victim. Consequently we have questioned several suspects and have also imposed roadblocks in an effort to apprehend the perpetrator of the crime, but all these actions have come to naught,” said Dissanayake.He further said that they were still awaiting the victim’s medical report from the doctor. “The victim is in good condition. She does not appear to be suffering from any mental trauma,” said Dissanayake.
Meanwhile, Officer-In-Charge of the Tourist Police Prabath Vidanagama said that he was confident that the Police will make a breakthrough in regard to this crime. “I believe that the suspect is from Nuwara Eliya,” he said. “The victim together with her parents met me at my office in Colombo on 10 January,” he said. Vidanagama however refused to divulge as to what the victim had told him. “Her mental condition is good and at least the victim is not flying back to Switzerland,” said Vidanagama. “In fact, after touring some parts of the island with her family, the victim will be going back to Nuwara-Eliya where the crime took place,” he said.
The victim’s stepfather is an English teacher in Nuwara Eliya. “Her family is regular visitors to Sri Lanka,” said Vidanagama. He further said that they plan to reestablish a Tourist Police Unit, operating from the Nuwara Eliya bus-stand, in a few weeks time. Consequently, it was shifted to the Nuwara Eliya park area, after which it became inoperable due to certain technicalities.Elsewhere, in respect of the mysterious death of a British youth earlier this year at Maligawatte, Colombo, Vidanagama said that they are awaiting the Judicial Medical Officer’s report in connection with this death. The Police suspect that the cause of death could be either due to a heroin overdose or due to his head been struck by a three-wheeler. Two three -wheeler drivers and their two three-wheelers are in Police custody.
Meanwhile, the British High Commission in Colombo in an electronic mail (e-mail) response in respect of a query made by this reporter; said yesterday that they are ‘assisting the family of the British national who died in Colombo last week.’ The United Kingdom (UK) Foreign Office in Colombo has not issued any additional travel advisory consequent to the death of this man, other than updating their ‘dengue advisory’.’