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Sri Lanka lifts travel ban on grieving British groom


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COLOMBO, AFP: A Briton whose bride died on their honeymoon two days after arriving in Sri Lanka was allowed to return home after a court lifted a travel ban Wednesday. 

Khilan Chandaria, 33, said he would probably return home Thursday after thanking several Sri Lankans who helped him during the tragedy. 

“When I heard that I can go back, the realisation finally hit me that I am going back to a life without my wife,” Chandaria told AFP by telephone from the southern resort town of Galle. 

He said the remains of his wife Usheila Patel, 31, were repatriated Wednesday as the courts decided to put off a full inquest into the death until August. 

A court official told AFP that Galle Magistrate Pavithra Pathirana revoked the travel ban as Chandaria was not regarded as a suspect in the death of his wife. 

Chandaria was in court with three lawyers. He said he was touched by the kindness shown by Sri Lankans and wanted to thank all of them before leaving the island. 

“If I was a foreigner in the UK and this happened, no one would have helped me as much as the help I got here,” he said, adding that friends and relatives back home, too, were very supportive. 

He said he wanted to keep his wife’s memory alive by offering his time for charity work. 

The inquest into Patel’s death will resume in August, officials said, but Chandaria is not required to attend. 

“The forensic reports were not available today. Therefore the inquest proceedings were postponed until 7 August,” the court official told AFP from Galle, south of Colombo. 

The couple checked into the Amari Galle hotel on 23 April, four days after their wedding, and were taken ill two days later. 

Amari spokesman Russell Cool told AFP last week that the couple initially declined medical treatment at a local hospital, but asked for help a few hours later. 

Patel died at the hospital. 

“The couple consumed a light meal prepared by the hotel, as did other guests at the same time, who remain fine,” Cool told AFP.


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