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|A BUDDHIST monk has been jailed for life for murdering a colleague
in a frenzied meat cleaver attack at a Basingstoke hotel. Original
source of this story:
Jurors took just two hours to unanimously convict Thero Nalaka Rathmalane of murdering fellow Sri Lankan monk Thero Siriwimala Patapiliyagoda in Audleys Wood Hotel on December 20, 2001, before stuffing his body into a suitcase and abandoning it outside Basingstoke railway station.
Rathmalane closed his eyes and bowed his head as the guilty verdict was read out at Winchester Crown Court yesterday afternoon. Mr Justice McCombe, sentencing, told 36-year-old Rathmalane - who had admitted killing Mr Patapiliyagoda but had denied murder - that the only sentence he could impose on him was life imprisonment.
The judge added: "During the course of this trial the court has heard a great deal of good about you. You have clearly earned a great deal of respect in your community in Sri Lanka and the initial respect of colleagues at your place of work in the UK. "There can be no doubt, however, that you inflicted the most appaling brutality upon this victim. "The injuries which we saw in the photographs clearly demonstrate the brutal attack that you subjected him to."
Owen Davies, QC, told the court the murder was completely out of character for his client, who had been nicknamed "Gandhi" by prison inmates and staff because of his peaceful nature and wisdom. Mr Davies said: "He is consumed by shame and remorse and, as we have made clear, in his faith, the consequences of his action will follow him notwithstanding any secular imprisonment."
He added that friends of Rathmalane, who live near the temple in Sri Lanka where he worked, kept photographs of him in their houses.
The day before the trial began two weeks ago, 2,000 of them gathered together to hold a prayer meeting for him.
Mr Davies also told the judge that Rathmalane asked the police to give any money they seized among his possessions to Mr Patapiliyagoda's family.
During the trial, Rathmalane told the jurors he attacked his 30-year-old victim, who was also known as Wimal, after they had an argument in the room they shared as housekeepers, during which he claimed the younger monk threatened him with a knife.