Barrister confident of guilty verdict in McAreavey murder trial

Michaela McAreavey
Michaela McAreavey

THIRTY witnesses are to give evidence on Tuesday at the trial of two men accused of killing Michaela McAreavey in Mauritius.

The 27-year-old daughter of Tyrone football manager Mickey Harte was murdered in January last year at the Legends Hotel where she was on honeymoon with her husband John McAreavey.

Mr McAreavey has also been listed as one of the witnesses to give evidence in the case, which is due to begin at the Supreme Court in the island’s capital of Port Louis.

Heartbroken dad Mickey will remain in Ireland to lead his Tyrone footballers in their championship opener against Armagh — a decision GAA-mad Michaela would have fully supported.

Barrister Dick Sui Wa — retained by the McAreavey family — has expressed confidence that a guilty verdict will be secured.

He said: “I am satisfied things will go well.

“We are feeling confident ahead of the start of the trial next week. Justice has to be done. If those accused are found guilty, they will receive life sentences.”

The legal eagle declared he’s satisfied sufficient evidence exists to reach a judgment.

Mr Wa said: “The trial will last at least three weeks — it is trial by jury. So far, so good — we will assist the trial fully to see that everything goes well.”

John has shunned luxury hotels for his stay — including the Legends resort where Michaela died.

Instead, he has arranged accommodation at a religious retreat.

Avinash Treebhowon (29) and Sandip Mooneea (41), both employees at the Legends Hotel, have been charged with murder. They have consistently denied the charge.

A room cleaner at the hotel, Raj Theekoy, has also been named as one of the witnesses to give evidence.

The wives of the two men charged with the murder have said their husbands would ‘not hurt a fly’.

Reshma Treebhoowon and Rekha Moneea are standing by their men and claim they are being used as scapegoats.

He (Sandip) wouldn’t hurt a fly, if there was a spider in the room I would have to kill it, because he would not”, insisted Rekha, 38.

The couple married in an arranged ceremony just one month before Michaela was murdered in January 2011.

The Moneea’s home is a custom built one million rupee (£21,000) house, which is grand by Mauritian standards.

When he was working at Legends Hotel he was earning just £210 per month, a wage similar to that of his civil servant wife Rekha.

Detectives believe the alleged killer borrowed heavily from loan sharks to build his home. They are convinced that Sandip broke into the McAreavey’s hotel room to steal cash to pay off his crippling debts. But this is a theory rubbished by his loyal wife.

21-year-old Reshma Treebhoown is also pleading her husband’s innocence.

“He is the perfect man. He is caring and so kind and gentle.

“Since we have been married he has never shouted at me or slapped me.”

Other hotel employees, including the chief security officer, the director of the five star hotel and a bellboy, are all to be called as witnesses alongside a number of police officers, forensic scientists and medical experts.