There had been previous incidents, threats and warnings scrawled in red paint. And on that very morning, when they had driven before work to the chemist’s shop, two sinister-looking men on a large black motorbike raced past their car. Lasantha Wickrematunga, a newspaper editor, and his wife, Sonali Samarasinghe, were convinced they were being tailed.
Back in their home, Mrs Wickrematunga, who is also a journalist, pleaded with her husband to stay at home. But it was a Thursday – a vital production day at her husband’s Sunday newspaper – and he had to go. “See you in the office,” she said as he left. Thirty minutes later she received a phone call telling her he had been fatally shot as he made his way to the office on the outskirts of Colombo. She rushed to the hospital and found her husband on a trolley, blood seeping from his mouth and ears. Doctors struggled to save him, but there was nothing they could do.