By Nirmala Kannangara
Despite Presidential Security Division (PSD) and Police Media Spokesperson’s claim that Ann Kingston (nee Mariyadas) was not knocked down by a motor bicycle out rider attached to the President’s motorcade the victim’s family claim otherwise.
Forty eight years old Kingston was knocked down by a speeding motor bicycle alleged to be one of the out riders in the Presidential convoy on July 9, on the zebra crossing in front of the Mt. Lavinia Magistrate Court on the Galle Road.
She had been moved to the Colombo South Teaching Hospital (Kalubowila) in the ambulance that was part of the convoy and was later transferred to the National Hospital Colombo the same evening for an emergency brain operation. However the Neurosurgeons could not revive her damaged brain and she was on the life support machine from the time she underwent surgery till she died on July 23 at the Neuro Trauma ICU 2.
Saddened in grief, the Kingston family is yet to come to terms as to what happened to Ann who was on her way back after picking up her seven year old grandson- a grade two student of S. Thomas’ College Mt. Lavinia. According to the grandson (name withheld) it was a traffic police ‘uncle’ that wanted his grandmother to cross the road when unexpectedly a lot of jeeps, motor cycles and tinted black cars together with the ambulance came at high speed and stopped on the zebra crossing after the accident.
“Grandma was holding my right hand tightly when crossing the road. A speeding motor bicycle came and knocked down grandma and she fell on a pool of blood. I too fell and my right knee got injured. All the vehicles that came behind the bicycle including the jeeps and big black colour tinted cars stopped and the ambulance that came behind all these vehicles was taken to the front and some police ‘uncles’ helped to put grandma to the ambulance and fled away,” said the small boy.
According to him, all the vehicles that were behind the motor bicycle moved forward slowly and he could not bear the grief seeing how his grandmother was taken away in an ambulance. “When I started crying, I was offered a chair from a nearby boutique and one uncle came and asked our phone number. Since I did not know any numbers he then asked in which school I am studying and took me to the college. I was then handed over to my class teacher and was taken to the head master. My teacher informed my mother about the accident and put me to the sick room.
She was asked to go to the hospital and the headmaster took care of me till my mother returned,” said the grandson. For this little boy, the accident which occurred in front of his eyes and what happened there after cannot be erased from his mind, which he has later put on a drawing paper to show the rest of his family as to what happened .
“No sooner he came home that day, he put his thoughts into a drawing to show how he and his grandma were on the zebra crossing when a motor bicycle came and knocked down the grandma. Later he gave evidence to the police,” said Kingston’s son who too wished to remain anonymous for security reasons.For them it was a surprise as to why the PSD was now trying to say that it was not a vehicle in the President’s convoy that knocked down their mother when she was crossing the road in front of the Mt. Lavinia courts.
“How can they claim otherwise now when they, themselves told us that it was their fault and was talking to the doctors constantly to inform us about our mom’s condition.
If it was not their fault why did they bring a special bed to the Neuro Trauma ICU 2 to keep my mom? If it was not their fault why did they spend for mom’s funeral? If it was not their fault why did they promise to help us out after the funeral? If it was not their fault why did they want us to come to the Temple Trees but was cancelled at the eleventh hour? Other than the PSD who else has BMW motorcycles to move about? ” asked the son. For him, had his nephew was allowed to go in the school service van, this tragic and traumatic death of his mother could have been prevented.
“After my brother-in-law died my mother came from Bandarawela to stay with my sister in Moratuwa. Since we were undergoing many financial difficulties, my mother wanted my sister to stop sending the small boy in the school van which cost us Rs. 4,000.
From July 1 we stopped him going in the van and my sister took her son to school on her way to office in the morning and it was my mother that picked him up after school,” said the son.
According to him, the doctors who attended on his mother had told the family that although their attempt was to save the life of the patient, still she would remain like a vegetable for the rest of her life as 90% of her brain was damaged due to the accident.
“Other than the damages caused to the brain, she was bleeding internally which was one of the reasons for the death. One doctor told us that he could not hear the heart functioning to his stethoscope but only heard the sound of fluids that was collected in mom’s lungs,” he said.
Further he said that there were neither condolence messages from the first family nor made any representations at the funeral other than two PSD officers- Colonel Mahendra Fernando and General Gallage.
“Soon after the incident the police told us that it was one of the bicycles in the President’s motorcade that knocked down our mom although they are now trying to cover it up.
Accoring to them President Mahinda Rajapaksa was returning from a funeral house in Moratuwa when one of the bicycles that sped knocked down our mom. Whatever happened has now happened. Even though the PSD is now trying to put the blame on another party we are not bothered as we have lost our mom and whether the PSD accept their fault or not my mom will not come back to us. If the court releases the soldier that killed my mother or keeps behind bars will not bring our mother back.
Ultimately it is the family- my maternal grandma, my dad, my two sisters and my -self that had to suffer due to somebody’s careless riding. There are no more security threats to politicians’ lives unlike earlier. So why do they want to go on high speed killing pedestrians. Although these deaths could be simple for them, for the bereaved parties it is a loss,” he added.
According to him it was Colonel Fernando that has called his father on Sunday July 29 evening and had wanted the Kingston family to pay a visit to Temple Trees the following day- Monday July 30 at 10.30 am.
“Again we got a call from Colonel Fernando on Monday morning around 8 am and wanted us not to come due to a busy schedule and promised to invite us after his return from Kandy,” he said.However, Col. Mahendra Fernando of the PSD said that it wasn’t a vehicle of the President’s motorcade that knocked down Kingston but yet another motor bicycle belongs to the PSD which was ridden by a member of the president’s guard but was going for another work.
“Unfortunately when this accident took place, the President’s motorcade too came to the scene and that was why it was reported that we were involved in the accident,” said Col. Fernando. He however said that funeral expenses were paid by the PSD as a ‘courtesy’ but not for anything else and added that they do not have any intention of paying any compensation to the family.“It is up to the person who rode the bicycle to pay compensation but not the PSD’s responsibility.
True I wanted this family to come to Temple Trees, but it was not for a meeting with the President but to meet me in my office at the Temple Trees,” he said. He further said that he cannot make any comment in regard to the soldier who was riding the motor bicycle due to ‘legal formalities’.
“I cannot say anything about this case due to legal formalities that are taking place now,” said Colonel Fernando. Police Spokesperson SP Ajith Rohana meanwhile said that the motor bicycle which knocked down Kingston was not a PSD bicycle but another bicycle where two army officers were travelling.
“They were not from the PSD,” said SP Rohana. However he said the motor cyclist was taken to custody immediately after the accident and was later produced in Mt. Lavinia courts.“He was later released on bail and the case is still pending,” said SP Rohana. courtesy: The Sunday Leader