Landlady Dies In Her Burning Home

“The man had already killed the landlord with a cane knife, but his wife survived, and she told us that she told the man she wanted to live.”
26 Jul 2022 16:25
Landlady Dies In Her Burning Home
This is what’s left of the home belonging to Suman Lata in Tomuka, Lautoka, on July 25, 2022. Police have classified the case as an alleged murder and arson. Photo: Salote Qalubau. Inset: The late Suman Lata

A knife-wielding man went berserk, allegedly killed a landlady and set her house on fire at Tomuka, Lautoka, yesterday, a neighbour revealed.

The neighbour, who did not want to be identified for fear of reprisals, claimed the landlady was an unfortunate victim of a relationship dispute between the alleged attacker and the wife. The wife had sought refuge at the landlady’s home after she was allegedly abused physically in her Nadi home.

The neighbour said he saw the alleged attacker’s wife walk out of the burning house.

“I could not tell whether she was injured. I and some men tried to get into the house but the attacker warned us to stop and he would attack anyone that wanted to go in. At the time, the flames were too hot too, so it would have been difficult to go inside,” he said.

He could not say what happened to the alleged attacker and his wife after that.


It was not clear last night whether the alleged attacker had been apprehended. The whereabouts of the alleged attacker’s wife was also not  known.

Police spokesperson Wame Bautolu confirmed the incident was classified as an alleged murder and arson case. He did not say whether the suspect had been arrested.

The house was a double-storey building believed to be subdivided into five flats. The deceased, Suman Lata, was the landlady. Most of the tenants were not in their flats when the trouble started. The neighbour, who lives nearby, said the fire began after 2pm.

“By the time we arrived at the house it was already on fire, and we saw a few people going live from their phones,” he said.

“The man had already killed the landlord with a cane knife, but his wife survived, and she told us that she told the man she wanted to live.”


Bystanders described the late Ms Lata as caring and friendly. While this area is one of Lautoka’s crime infested areas, this incident has shocked the residents.

Family members of the late Ms Lata declined to comment.

This morning a Police report confirmed that a taxi driver in his 40s alleged to have murdered a woman in Tomuka, Lautoka is in Police custody.

The suspect allegedly murdered the victim and locked her inside her bedroom before setting the house on fire.

The suspect surrendered himself at the Nadi Police Station and has been escorted to the Lautoka Police Station where he is currently being questioned.

Investigators are awaiting the outcome of the post mortem examination, as investigations continue.



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