Thursday, December 3, 2009

Murderer Mohideen who killed Mary Welikala had been stabbed to death by a fellow prisoner five months back over an argument whilst he was in prison!

Passionate desire led him to gallows

Ananda JAYASENA Senior Supdt. of Police (Retd.)

From Wadduwa, I was transferred as OIC Aluthgama Police and took charge of the station from Inspector Carlyle Dias who after retirement from the Police was killed in a bomb in Jaffna, whilst he was working for a private organization.

I liked Aluthgama very much because it was only 38 miles to Colombo and 12 miles to my home at Ambalangoda.

Two friends of Aluthgama Police right-throughout were Bawa brothers, Bevis and Geoffrey. They visited the Police Station at least once a week and took OIC and his Sub-Inspector to their home for a chat and a beer.

On 12th February 1967, which was a Sunday and when I was at the Police Station, around 10.30 a.m. a case of a double murder was reported from a village close to Kalawila. The deceased had been the lady of the house and her maid servant.

The lady was Mary Welikala.

Beautiful lass
Mary Welikala, a very fair, beautiful lass of eighteen years had met a young planter Harold Jansz. He was 12 years older to her and the meeting had been at the Sacred Heart Church, Elpitiya. Both of them attended the 7.00 a.m. Sunday mass together. Harold had first thought that Mary herself was a Burgher. Time went by and after a long standing love affair they both said "I do" in the same Church ten months later.

Harold Jansz was a very hard working planter and rose fairly fast in his profession. At fifty he became the Visiting Agent for a group of tea estates in Badulla. With the passage of time Harold and Mary had two sons and a daughter. Both sons were employed abroad and were doing extremely well, and the only daughter Wilma was happily married to a planter named Ebert Kretser and lived in an estate at Maskeliya.

After retirement Harold bought two acres of land close to Major Bevis Bawa's "Brief", built a beautiful house, laid an equally lovely flower garden and both of them lived here very happily for over eight years.

Heart attack
At the age of sixty eight Harold Jansz suffered a massive heart attack one night and died before admission to a hospital.

Mary was now fifty six years of age. She was well off even after her husband's demise. She had plenty of free time and helped poor villagers, started a Montessori School free of charge for the small children in the village. She also helped the poor neighbours who needed help. Her daughter Wilma wanted the mother to come and stay with her, but she was reluctant. So Wilma sent her a nanny named Charlotte to be with her.

Charlotte was in her mid-thirties, a spinster and a buxom woman.

Mary was a methodical woman. She did everything to a plan. She got up at 5.30 a.m. daily and said her prayers for thirty minutes. Had her breakfast attended to her daily needs and left to the market with the maid in her car driven by her chauffer. She always bought things from traders known to her. After marketing she went to the beef stall, every other day and bought beef from a butcher named Mohideen.

Mohideen was a young, aged about 30 years strong and well built.

Lonely area
On receipt of this information of the double murder I left the Station on inquiry with Sgt. 4777 Ariyadasa.

This house was situated in a lonely area in the village and the closest house was about three hundred yards away and was of one Shelton Perera who was a widower.

The main door was found forced open Charlotte's body was in the second room which was said to be her's. The body was sprawled on the ground head turned to side. She was dressed in a plain skirt and a loose jacket. She had bled profusely. There were no marks of a disturbance in the room or on the bed. The body of Mary Welikala was in her bedroom. The bed had been disarranged indicating that there had been a struggle. The pillow had been fallen off the bed. There was a noticeable cut mark on her night dress on the centre of the chest. She too had bled profusely.

The culprit or culprits had entered the house by forced opening the main door.

Medical evidence
I kept Sgt. Ariyadasa at the scene and went and met my Magistrate in his residence at Kalutara North. I explained to him the nature of the double murder and requested of him to order Juridical Medical Officer, Colombo to hold the post-mortem examination on both bodies as a lot of this case will have to depend on medical evidence as there appears to be no eye witnesses.

Magistrate allowed this application and he directed Mr. Vernon Fernando J. P. U. M. to hold the on the spot inquest.

Same afternoon Mr.Fernando visited the scene and gave a verdict of "homicide" and told us to remove both dead bodies to the office of the JMO at Colombo for him to hold post-mortem examinations.

Same evening we dispatched both bodies to the General Hospital Morgue under Police escort.

By this time Registrar of Finger Prints visited the scene of murder in consequence to message given by me that day morning.

They dusted the entire place but there were no prints found in the room where Charlotte's body was found. But there were two prints found in Mary's room, a finger print and a palm print.

The palm print was on the electric torch used by Mary and the finger print was on a three quarter empty shampoo bottle which was in Mary's bathroom kept on the window still.

Both these objects were photographed by the CID Photographer.

Injuries fatal
Dr. Chandra Amarasekara Deputy JMO held the post-mortem examinations on both bodies. He stated in his report on Mary Welikala that she had been raped before her death.

With regards to Charlotte the AJMO indicated that there was no evidence of having had a sexual intercourse. Her private parts had been washed and cleaned.

A stab injury had been traced by the Doctor and the back of the chest and this had damaged the heart.

Injuries of both women would have been caused by one and the same weapon and both injuries were necessarily fatal.

Time went by. There was no information forthcoming in this double murder.

P.C. 229 Alwis who had served Aluthgama Police for five years had now gone on transfer to Maradana and had come to Aluthgama to attend one of his earlier cases, and he had met one Sirimal who had been an informant of his and Sirimal had told Alwis that butcher Mohideen was seen riding a pedal cycle on the night of this murder and when he questioned him he had told that Mohideen had gone to see some heads of cattle for slaughter.

He did not believe him as the time was just past mid-night, also Alwis told me that on the first or the second month of his arrival at Aluthgama Mohideen was convicted for a case of stabbing and was bound over for a period of six month by the Magistrate Kalutara.

I contacted the Office of the Registrar of Finger Prints and told them to compare the finger prints of Mohideen accused in M. C. Kalutara case No. 21691 convicted on 17/3/62, with the finger prints found at the scene of double murder at Aluthgama on 11th night of February 1967.

Identical prints
Two days later R. F. P. reported that finger prints of accused Mohideen was compared with the prints found at the scene of double murder on February 11th, and both prints are identical.

Accused Mohideen was arrested and he admitted having killed both women. Also he admitted that he hid the weapon of offence in his house amongst the coconut thatched leaves of the root.

According to Mohideen both the lady and the maid servant came to his stall every other day and he noticed that maid was giving him the glad eye. But he wanted to have sex with the lady of the house, and this was tormenting day by day. He also stated that he went to the house in question around 11.00 p.m. and the front door was locked.

He quietly broke opened it and entered the second room on the left. He found to his astonishment that it was Charlotte's room and she was fast a sleep. He put her up and she told him that lady sleep in the bedroom which was third from the right.

He had set with her came tip-toed to madam's room and found her reading a book. He went back to Charlotte's room and waited till she came out to the bathroom stabbed her once killed her and left the room. He entered Mary's room and on seeing him Mary raised cries. He went to the bed tried to stop her shouting by keeping his cupped hand on her mouth. In the meantime, her torch fell down.

He picked it up and kept on the bed. He had sexual intercourse forcibly with her twice and stabbed her too, to death.

When he went to her bathroom to wash he saw an expensive bottle of shampoo on the bathroom window sill. He wanted to give this to his wife and when he lifted it he saw a very little amount of shampoo hence he did not take it home.

Knife recovered
After recording his statement I went to his house with him and recovered the knife in consequence to the statement made by him.

On the following day I produced the accused in Magistrate's Court Kalutara and got him remanded to fiscal custody for 12 days and filed plaint against accused Mohammed Mohideen under Section 296 for committing a double murder.

After four months of non summery proceedings the Magistrate committed this case to be heard in Supreme Court.

In the latter part of 1968 this case came up for trial in Supreme Courts Kalutara before an English speaking Jury.

At the commencement of the trial the State Counsel explained to the Jury, Section 27 of evidence Ordinance where it says, any production recovered in consequence to a statement made by an accused is admissible in law if the police officer had not used force, threat or intimidation or no promises had been made.

The first witness to be called by the prosecution was Dr. Chandra Amarasekara Deputy J. M. O Colombo. His evidence was brief and to the point. He emphasized that the knife produced would have caused all three injuries on both Mary Jansz and Charlotte.

Accepted fact
The second witness to be called was Registrar of Finger printer. He stated that no two people in the world has identical finger prints and the finger print and the palm print found on the shampoo bottle and the torch respectively was of accused Mohammed Mohideen.

The Defence did not cross examine the R.F.P.

The third witness to be called was Sirimal. His evidence was very short.

The fourth witness to be called was yours truly. The Defence Counsel tried to excite me but I had put in about nine years of Police service and had sufficient maturity to face a cross examination.

The Defence tried to show Court that I had introduced the weapon of offence. At this stage Lordship the Judge asked the accused Counsel, in a lighter vein whether finger prints too were introduced.

The Defence did not call the accused to the witness box as if he gives evidence from the witness box he could be subjected to cross examination by the Prosecution, State Counsel.

At the conclusion of the trial the Jury brought the unanimous verdict of guilt and as the death sentence had been abolished the accused was sentenced to twenty years and fifteen years for murder and rape respectively.

After about ten years when I went to attend Kandy Courts I met Ebert Kretser in Kandy.

He recognized me and told that murder suspect Mohideen who killed Mary Welikala had been stabbed to death by a fellow prisoner five months back over an argument whilst he was still serving the sentence.

Names of the two deceased persons and the accused are fictitious.

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