‘This is an utter disgrace’: Outcry after Sri Lankan president pardons death row killer who brutally murdered Swedish teen girl

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In his final week in office, Sri Lanka’s outgoing president has pardoned a death row killer who murdered a Swedish teenager in 2005. The girl’s skull was smashed into 64 pieces during the horrific attack.

Yvonne Jonsson, who had dual Sri Lankan and Swedish nationality, was killed in the stairwell of the Colombo apartment building her family was living in at the time. The attack had come after an argument between the teenager and killer Jude Jayamaha, then aged 19, who reportedly hails from an influential family. 

Jayamaha was initially sentenced to 12 years, but his appeal ended in him being sentenced to death. Confirming the decision to pardon and release him, President Maithripala Sirisena said Jayamaha was imprisoned “over an incident of impatience” and had served his term with good behavior.

In a Facebook post, Jonsson’s sister wrote in detail about her family’s heartbreak over news of the killer’s pardon and release, rejecting any claims the murder was an accident or minor incident. Instead she insisted Jayamaha had planned the attack, waiting outside the apartment for his victim and chasing her down in the brutal assault. 

Caroline Jonsson-Bradley also said the attacker had taken pains to try to destroy evidence of his involvement and evade justice, and the family “will never overcome the pain and distress” he caused by murdering Yvonne. 

“He showed and continues to show absolutely no remorse for what he has done,” she wrote. “To say my sister’s brutal killing has turned our world upside down is an understatement.”

Sri Lankans commenting online shared their disgust over news of the release, sending fresh condolences to the bereaved family and calling the president an “idiot” for the “senseless and meaningless” pardon. 

“Where is the justice for the victim?” one asked. “Shame on you President Sirisena.”

“This is an utter disgrace,” another wrote.

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