Victoria University PhD student allegedly killed by ex-husband in Sri Lanka

"We don't know the truth behind the scene. But no one is wrong enough to be murdered."
"We don't know the truth behind the scene. But no one is wrong enough to be murdered." Photo credit: Image - Facebook

Warning: This article mentions attempted suicide.

A Victoria University of Wellington PhD student has allegedly been killed in Sri Lanka by her ex-husband just days after arriving from New Zealand. 

It's reported Apsara Wimalasiri died on Sunday while on a short holiday to visit family and take part in protests in the town of Weliweriya. 

Sri Lankan media outlet the Daily Mirror reports a 37-year-old resident of Matara attempted to end their own life after killing Wimalasiri and critically injuring her sister and friend.

It's reported the person is now in hospital under police guard.

Tributes have flowed on Facebook following Wimalasiri's shocking death, with one woman demanding justice for her "beloved sister".

"We don't know the truth behind the scene. But no one is wrong enough to be murdered."

Te Herenga Waka - Victoria Univerity of Wellington acting Vice-Chancellor Professor Sarah Leggott told Newshub Apsara was a valued member of the school community. 

"The thoughts of the whole University community are with Apsara's family. The University is providing support to impacted staff and students,"

"A commemorative event for Apsara is being planned by friends and colleagues at the University."

 The Open University of Sri Lanka Postgraduate Institute of English department shared their sympathies with her loved ones. 

"We are saddened and shocked," the post said. "She is much loved and her loss will impact many generations to come."

One person described Wilmalasiri's personality as "vibrant and unforgettable". 

A Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade (MFAT) spokesperson told Newshub they are aware of Wimalasiri's death.

"MFAT and the New Zealand High Commission in Colombo are aware of the death in Sri Lanka of [a] Sri Lankan citizen who studied in New Zealand."

Stuff reports the 33-year-old moved to Wellington in 2020 to complete her masters thesis before she moved on to become a PhD candidate. 

Wimalasiri's PhD supervisor and friend, Dr Corrine Seals, told Stuff she was "loved by so many people". 

"She was an activist and a scholar, who was always supporting everyone around her." 

Where to find help and support: 

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Shakti Community Council - 0800 742 584