‘He moved to Sheffield for a better life’

Thavisha Peiris
Thavisha Peiris
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A pizza delivery driver stabbed to death in Sheffield was about to finish his last-ever shift – but fatefully agreed to stay late to make two final drop-offs.

Thavisha Lakindu Peiris, aged 25, was leaving Domino’s Pizza in Wadsley Bridge for his dream job as an IT consultant.

His shift was to be his last before embarking on his new career.

Instead, worried workmates found the Sheffield Hallam University graduate dead in the driver’s seat of his silver Toyota Yaris on Southey Crescent in Southey.

Today – as a South Yorkshire Police murder inquiry team of 50 continued a major public appeal to find his killer – his shellshocked boss Ravi Marripidi said he is ‘wracked with guilt’.

“I feel really guilty that I asked him to make those last two deliveries,” he said. “He 
wanted to go home, but I asked him to make two last deliveries near each other.

“I have not been able to sleep since. Thavisha keeps coming into my dreams.”

A post mortem examination found Thavisha died from stab wounds.

Three 16-year-old boys arrested on suspicion of murder and questioned over 48 hours have been released without charge.

Ravi, also 25, said Thavisha – a Buddhist from the Sri Lankan capital of Colombo – lived in Fir Vale, and worked for the Halifax Road pizza shop for two years while trying to put his software engineering degree to good use.

“He moved here to study and for a better life, which is the irony,” said Ravi.

“He was a very soft man and a very kind person. He was not aggressive, he did not argue with anyone, he just got on with his job.”

Det Supt Lisa Ray, leading the police inquiry, said no motive has been established for his ‘brutal and shocking death’.

“Thavisha was a bright, hard-working, intelligent and caring man who had worked hard to develop his career in Sheffield,” she said.

“His murder is an absolute tragedy and has caused untold grief for his mother, father and brother in Sri Lanka, and for his many friends.

“Everything we have learned suggests he was a career-minded, articulate and friendly young man who was very much planning his future.

“I need to hear from anyone who knows anything about his murder.

“We know he set off in his car from Domino’s at 9.50pm on Sunday to make that last delivery. At 10.30pm he was found dead in his car parked outside the address he was delivering to.

“It is urgent that anyone who saw him, or his car, or anything they now regard as suspicious, comes forward without delay.

“A family is grieving for a young man whose life was taken from him in the most brutal of fashions, and we owe it to them to find those responsible.”

Thavisha’s family in Sri Lanka were last night making plans to travel to Sheffield.

The killing on Sunday night bears tragic similarities to the murder of pizza shop worker Zabi Rafiq, stabbed to death in 2011 in a botched robbery for his takings on Callow Mount, Gleadless Valley. He had moved to Sheffield from Afghanistan hoping for a better life.

And in 2009 Safrajur Jahangir, 23, was shot dead at the wheel of his car while delivering an Indian takeaway on Scraith Wood Drive, Shirecliffe. Nobody was convicted.

Anyone with information about Thavisha’s death is urged to call South Yorkshire Police on 101 quoting incident 1,253 of October 27.