The detective leading the hunt for the killer of Thavisha Lakindu Peiris made a poignant plea to mothers to turn in their sons if they suspect they are involved.
Speaking at a press conference at the spot where the pizza delivery driver was murdered in Sheffield, Detective Superintendent Lisa Ray revealed the 25-year-old from Sri Lanka, living in Fir Vale, spoke to his own mother on the phone every day.
She said: “I am appealing to mothers out there.
“Did your son come home a little dishevelled, perhaps with blood-stained clothing?
“The attacker or attackers will have gone home on Sunday night, or the early hours of Monday, with blood on their outer clothes. Did someone you know start behaving out of character, washing their clothes, and appear to be highly anxious?”
Making an urgent appeal for information about the ‘brutal’ stabbing, Det Supt Ray admitted police have ‘no positive leads’.
Sheffield Hallam University graduate Thavisha was knifed to death in Southey Crescent, Southey, on Sunday night – while making his last-ever pizza delivery before embarking his dream career in IT.
Thavisha, who moved to Sheffield to study in 2011 and graduated with a degree in IT from Sheffield Hallam University in 2012, had been supporting himself by working at Domino’s Pizza on Halifax Road.
“I need to hear from anyone who knows anything about his murder,” said Det Supt Ray. “Anyone who may have seen any suspicious behaviour in the area around the time, anyone who saw his silver Toyota Yaris on Southey Crescent or before the incident.
“Also, if anyone has CCTV in the area, we urgently need to hear from you.
“A family is grieving for a young man whose life has been taken from him in the most brutal of fashions, and we owe it to him and his loved ones to find those responsible.”
Police were alerted at 10.30pm on Sunday after worried colleagues, concerned he was late with his delivery, set out to look for their friend – and found him slumped inside his car with stab wounds to the chest.
Det Supt Ray said they have found no motive for what appeared to be a ‘random’ killing.
She added that three 16-year-old boys arrested initially had been eliminated from the inquiry.
Call police on 101 if you have any information.
Key to mystery ‘lies in the local community’
Detectives investigating the ‘shocking’ murder of graduate Thavisha Lakindu Peiris say they believe the key to solving the case lies within the local community.
Detective Superintendent Lisa Ray appealed to locals who had any information about the killing to come forward – and admitted officers have no idea what the motive for the murder could be.
She said: “Somebody somewhere knows something. I feel most likely it is going to be somebody local to this area.
“It is just a shocking set of circumstances, and we are appealing to people in this community to come forward.”
Det Supt Ray said Thavisha, whose heartbroken father, mother and brother in Sri Lanka paid for him to come to Sheffield to study, spoke to his mum on the phone every day.
She said: “I can only imagine the pain his family in Sri Lanka are feeling. He was a very hard-working, caring, genuine young man, taken for what reason we don’t know.”
Insp Simon Leake said patrols in Southey have been stepped up. “We are doing everything to support the murder team, identify the killers and bring them in.”