The Royal Park Murder Case

What does the perfect story contain? It contains deceit, doubt, sex, violence, love, death, and a lot of what’s called the Rashomon effect.

This contains all of it.

June 30th. This is a date not so significant to most of us. POTUS Donald Trump, visited north Korea becoming the first US president to visit the country. However, a tragedy had occurred as well that did not just change the lives of a handful of people but also the way people perceive justice, equality before the law, and respect for the authorities.

On the 30th of June 2005, Jude invited his Swedish girlfriend, caroline johnson, and her sister Yvonne johnson to a party organized by the Colombo nightlife society in Colombo. The sisters took out their father’s car, picked up Jude, and drove off to the party.

And they didn’t intend to stay at the same party for a long time. At the several bars, they went to, they met a lot of school friends and after a few hours, caroline decided to head back as she had an exam the next day, leaving Jude and Yvonne together. In the meantime, their school friend, a Korean named Khone decided to join Yvonne.

A cab arrives at 2 am at the royal park (a housing complex for the elite in Colombo). It drops off caroline and Jude and they go to the 26th floor where the johnsons had a condo. Caroline goes to her parent’s room and misinforms them that she came back with her sister.

She took Jude to her room and this is where things get interesting.

If we go by caroline’s version, it goes like this.

She comes to her room with her boyfriend Jude where he stays for a few moments while she calls khone to ask about her sister’s whereabouts and Jude calls to get a cab. After some time they allegedly had a quarrel and Jude left by 2:30 am.

Whereas Jude claims- he and Caroline returned at 2 00 am to the apartment they entered her bedroom, that Caroline went to the bathroom to take a bath whilst he went to the balcony to have a smoke, and that During that time he was in the balcony he had given a call to his friend Silvan, asking him to come and pick him up at the apartment. Counsel for the appellant took up the position that after Caroline returned from the bathroom they went to bed and indulged in sex and thereafter he left Caroline’s room in his boxer shorts as he usually did.

The next day, a domestic helper by the name of sheila Anthony uses the stairs to go to the 19th floor to deliver some groceries.

She finds a body lying on the stairs and immediately rushes to the building manager Mr.Wanasinghe.

Mr.Wanasinghe is later quoted saying The body looked like that of a doll. I later managed to identify the body as that of Roger Jonsson’s daughter Yvonne. Her jeans had been pulled down to her ankles and wrapped around her neck.”


Yvonne had come to the royal park at around 2:50 am on the 1st. The prosecution found evidence to suggest the attack began after Yvonne exited the elevator on the 23rd floor. Jayamaha allegedly forced Yvonne to the staircase, leading Yvonne to drop articles of clothing belonging to her in the ensuing struggle. Jayamaha forcibly bashed her head against the edge of a step several times, leading to her skull being fractured into over 60 pieces.

Yvonne had been dragged down four flights of stairs; her body was found on the stairs of the 19th floor. The cause of death, according to a medical officer, was asphyxiation by a pair of stretch pants worn by the deceased. According to the prosecution Jayamaha had fashioned them into a ligature by bending the victim’s legs backward.

A partial palm impression in blood matching Jayamaha was found on the banister near Yvonne’s body. After the murder, Jude calls a friend for a taxi and leaves the royal park.

it was an open and shut case. The pieces of evidence piled up against Jude.

Jude claimed, he saw the body on the night of the murder! However, his shoes did not contain a single bloodstain.

However, something still doesn’t make any sense. If Jude left the royal park premises at 2:30 am and Yvonne came at 2:50 am, how could it be him who killed her?

At 3:25-30am, a cab stops at the royal park. Inside sits Rilvan, a friend of Jude who picked him up from the royal park. And funnily enough, the watchman who was supposed to be on duty conveniently fell asleep and did not note down the cars which entered and left.

The most important piece of evidence was the bloody palm mark left behind by Jude.

Jude and his defense tried every argument. This case is interesting in another way such that, it had lawyers and attorneys who are among the best, bid against each other. Jude, coming from an influential family, from both his father’s and his mother’s side, had the resources to hire one of the best lawyers.

However, his fate was sealed.

“ I find the accused-appellant guilty of murder…..I sentence the accused-appellant to death..”

And a happy ending for the johnson family. Their daughter may not come back, but at least justice has been done. Real justice. Justice for all. The Jonsson family can finally mourn the loss of their daughter.

No. the story does not end here.

9/11/2019 (not to be confused with 11/9/2001 or the twin tower attack dates). Another ordinary day for most of us. But something has been brewing for quite some time. It is the last week of service for the Sri Lankan president Maithripala Sirisena. A smart and pragmatic leader. Along with the presidency, he kept the post of the ministry of defense to prevent any possibility of a military coup against him since Sri Lanka has been a politically turbulent nation.

A file lands on the president’s desk. President Srisena uncaps his pen, signs it, and sends it away immediately.

Jude Jayamaha leaves Kuravita prison, where he was kept for the past 7 years, leaves- as a free man.

As it turns out, the president had ties to the family of Jude Jayamaha and had him freed.

Alas, justice is undone!

This provoked a backlash from all quarters of society but it was to no avail. Srisena left office in a week, and Jude was free and now claimed to be rehabilitated.

On the 14th of November, he published an open letter apologizing to society and the johnson family.

And as expected, the people did not react favorably to this. Neither did the Johnson family.

“My parents and I occupy ourselves every moment so we don’t sink into dark thoughts. Pretending to be fine and normal has its weight and repercussions. We know this too well but it has been the only way to make sure that the murderer didn’t take more from us.

I watch my father be so strong in front of people, but behind closed doors, he is a broken man.

“President, do you know how many years it took for my father to stop crying in his sleep? My mother has been unable to express herself or fathom what had happened to her firstborn child. She is highly protective of me and rightly so. People close to us never understood this, but I have always stuck by my mother’s side because I understand. I understand it even more now being a mother to a little girl.”

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