Murderer of Michaela will be brought to justice - Says Prime Minister
THE Mauritian prime minister has reaffirmed his desire to have the murderer of Michaela McAreavey brought to justice.
Dr Navinchandra Ramgoolam told state television, Mauritius Broadcasting Corporation, that local police were collaborating with the PSNI.
Mrs McAreavey, 27, the daughter of Tyrone Senior Football Manager Mickey Harte, was killed at the Legends Hotel on the island in January 2011.
John and Michaela McAreavey had arrived at the luxury resort on Saturday 8 January 2011 – two days before the murder.
Just before they arrived in Mauritius on the second leg of their honeymoon the couple had, according to John, enjoyed “seven wonderful days in Dubai”.
Months later two men, Sandip Moonea and Avinash Treebhoowoon, who worked at the hotel, went on trial accused of murdering the 27-year-old schoolteacher.
The prosecution had claimed the defendants attacked Mrs McAreavey when she interrupted them stealing in the room, having momentarily left her husband John at a poolside restaurant to fetch biscuits.
During the trial at Mauritius’s supreme court, John explained how he was haunted by the moment she decided to go to the room.
“I told her I would run to the room, it was very close, but she said: ‘No, no it’s okay’, she would go herself,” John told the court in Port Louis.
The defence team for the pair had argued that local police had tortured the suspects following their arrest.
The verdict of not guilty prompted serious questions for Mauritian police over their handling of the murder investigation.
Allegations of police brutality against one of the accused were a consistent theme through the eight weeks of the trial, and other aspects of officers’ conduct came under the spotlight – including their treatment of John McAreavey in the hours after the crime. The bereaved husband was arrested, handcuffed and left alone in a police station for five hours.
Treebhoowoon alleged that a confession statement signed by him the following day was extracted by violent means.
Throughout the trial, defence lawyers challenged several aspects of the murder investigation.
The trial at the Supreme Court in Mauritius lasted more than seven weeks and was one of the longest in Mauritian legal history.
“The authorities have taken all measures to investigate the murder of Michaela Harte,” said Dr Ramgoolam.
“I have reiterated the wish to see author/s of this crime be punished in justice.”
He said Mauritian police were working with their Irish counterparts.
“It is not true to say that we are not in contact with Irish authorities,”, he said.
“The commissioner of police in Mauritius is working closely with them.”
A new police investigation was initiated into the murder after the two men were found not guilty by a jury.
In July it was revealed that Northern Ireland’s Attorney General Barra McGrory was going to examine the papers from Mrs McAreavey trial.
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