Police open homicide probe | Sunday Observer
Shades owner found dead in pool

Police open homicide probe

5 February, 2023

Shades Fashion is a leading family run clothing retailer in Sri Lanka. Its owners are a group of siblings from Kittampahuwa, Wellampitiya.

Roshan Wanninayake was the only male among the five siblings in the family. On February 2, the Police found him dead, floating in a pool at a three storey residence in Pelawatta. Investigations conducted since have revealed Wanniyakae was murdered.

The house he was found in was owned by him, and was being renovated at the time of his death. He had been missing for several days prior to that. On February 1, one of his sisters lodged a missing persons report with the Wellampitiya Police after failing to locate her brother. She tells them, on January 30, her brother had left their home in Wellampitiya around 5.30 in the evening in a vehicle bearing number plate KE 9998.

The sister said she had called him around 7.00 pm but it had gone unanswered. He had called her around 7.29 pm and said he would be home for dinner. However she told Police he failed to turn up and the mobile has since been switched off. She said this was highly suspicious as he was not in the habit of switching off his phone at any point.

The sisters said they searched for their brother. They had even called an Asapuwa located in Kaduwela as he was known to have close connections with it. However the bhikhus claimed he had not visited them during the time.

Within 12 hours of the complaint the Police was able to uncover information that Wanninayake’s credit cards had been used to purchase two air tickets to the United Kingdom online for the night of January 30. They also found that on January 31, the same card was used to make some purchases at the Duty Free.

While the investigators were concerned if Wanninayake had gone abroad, his body was later found at his residence in Pelawatta. The investigators observed that his death seemed to have occurred a few days prior while the clothes he wore on the day he went missing was found near the pool. The police also found traces of blood near the pool and it seemed he was dragged to the pool by his killers. According to the police, it appears the victim was struck on the head with a heavy object and then dumped in the pool.

According to friends and family, Wanninayake was not known to be quarrelsome and instead lived a pious life. He had come from a humble background before making it big in business. His father had rolled Beedi and sold newspapers and bottles to make a living and educate his children.

The victim’s older sister was once an accountant at a garment company and it is said the victim and his family began their businesses by purchasing discarded cloth from the factory to stitch new clothing items. Before long they had opened a clothing store called Shades.

The Police suspects Wanninayake was accompanied by a woman at the time of his death as several used and unused condoms were found at the scene of the crime.

They have now been sent for DNA testing. The Police have also traced the pharmacy in Kalubowila from which the condoms had been purchased from through a bill found at the scene.

The CCTV footage from the pharmacy had show that the condoms were purchased by a couple. The Police were then able to trace their movements towards Pelawatta through mobile network data.

Police believe the couple had accompanied Wanninayake on the day and they had been present during his killing. Following his death, they had remained for at least one hour in the house before making away with his credit cards.

The Police said they had also purchased two tickets to Indonesia at the time. According to the Police, the victim’s phone was used to purchase the air tickets.

The couple had left the Pelawatta home in the victim’s vehicle around midnight on January 31, and headed towards the Katunayake Highway. However the engine had broken down on the way forcing them to call 1969 for help once again using the victim’s phone around 1.30 a.m. The vehicle, the police said, was then towed to a repair shop in Negombo. According to the driver of the tow truck, the couple did not seem fluent in Sinhala, raising some suspicion about them.

He told the Police however they seemed fluent in English. The police were able to locate the abandoned vehicle belonging to Wanninayake at this repair shop. The Police said the couple alighted from the tow truck in Kurana, and then travelled to the Airport and had purchased some items from the duty free shops using the victims credit cards.

They had spent close to Rs. 900 000 belonging to the victim in a matter of five hours. However if the couple had in fact fled the country remains unknown.