University murder: the inside story | Sunday Observer

University murder: the inside story

22 January, 2023

It is said there is a fine line between love and hate as evidenced by the recent gruesome death of a Colombo University student at the hands of her lover.

The murder took place on January 17, at the Race-Course Grounds. As rumours on the events that led to the brutal killing began to make rounds, it was revealed the young man who allegedly committed the act was suffering from mental health issues and was unable to come to terms with his girlfriend, the victim, wanting to end their relationship.


The suspect was identified as Pasindu Chathuranga, a third-year student of the Science Faculty of the University of Colombo. The victim was Chathuri Hansika, a fellow student and girlfriend of the suspect.

Chanthuranga, a resident of Wellampitiya came from humble means. His mother, a worker at a tea factory and his father a three wheeler driver, had toiled hard to ensure he got a good education in the hope he would better the fortunes of the family. However, now everything has been lost.

According to residents in the area, Chathuranga and his sister were studious and were often seen deep into their books. When not studying, Chathuranga is said to have spent time on his computer. He had also given math tuition to students in Wellampitiya, Kolonnawa, Kelaniya and Kiribathgoda in a bid to find pocket money so as not to burden his parents.

The victim, Chathuri Hansika also had her own YouTube account which provided information on statistics to those interested.

Underprivileged background

The couple had met at university in 2019 and had become lovers in March 2020 despite Hansika’s initial resistance. Chathuranga is said to have revealed to Hansika his most deep and intimate issues including his underprivileged background and even how he attempted to take his life after a school romance ended. He had also told her about taking psychiatric treatment since 2019 for mental health issues he faced after the incident.

The information had not upset Hansika. However, as time went by friends say Chathuranga was intolerant of her speaking to other students at the university. Afraid of losing her, he had imposed rules on his girlfriend which she found stifling. Unable to take it any longer, Hansika had proposed that the couple take a short break from each other. However, they had continued to be close friends even after temporarily ending their relationship.

But in August 2022 Chathuranga was admitted to the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH) after his condition worsened. On his return home, a highly concerned and alarmed Hansika had texted him proposing they permanently end their relationship amidst his stiff opposition and pleas. Hansika had given in and the couple had resumed their relationship. But the issues between the couple only got worse due to his insecurities and suspicions.


Following a lecture on January 17, Chanthuranga had first taken Hansika for a walk near the Independence Square and then to the Race-Course Grounds. Here Chathuranga, allegedly murdered Hansika with a sharp weapon in the most brutal fashion. He then fled the area. His escape was caught on CCTV in the area as well. The same cameras had also recorded the couple walking towards the location where the murder took place. 

The Police officers of the Colombo Crimes Division were able to nab Chathuranga a short while after the murder at his house in Wellampitiya. The suspect was brought to the Cinnamon Gardens Police where the questioning commenced.

Here the suspect said Hansika, who he fondly called ‘Chuti’ had changed suddenly and it appeared she had got tired of him. He told the Police he was afraid he would lose her and refused to allow anyone else to have her.


He said she had changed after he had to receive in house treatment at the NIMH. He told the Police she had scolded and even insulted him on several occasions. But the Police are unable to confirm these claims as Hansika is no more.

The suspect said he came up with the murder plot four days prior and bought the knife on January 15, for Rs. 140 from a shop in the Wellampitiya Junction. He had told the Police he went to university that day with the intention of killing her and had convinced her to spend time with him. 

He said he took her to four spots before finally killing her at the Race-Course Grounds. Chathuranga told the investigators he then convinced her to close her eyes on the promise of giving her a surprise before attacking her with the knife twice.

He admitted he had fled the spot thereafter and taken a three wheeler to Borella. He said he then took a 154 bus and another trishaw to reach the Old Kelani Railway Bridge with the intention of dying by suicide. But unable to follow through, he had gone home and left home again shortly afterwards. 

He told the Police he then attempted to kill himself by drowning in the Kelani River. Unable to go through yet again, he said he attempted to drown himself twice but failed.

He said he had intended to attempt to take his life once again at home when he returned but was arrested by the Police before that.