Belfast Telegraph

Thursday 31 July 2014

Harte tragedy: Michaela's killer may still be on the loose, warns police chief

Michaela McAreavey on her wedding day
John McAreavey and wife Michaela Harte are seen on their wedding day
Mickey Harte, pictured in 2006 with his daughter Michaela

Police in Mauritius have warned that Michaela McAreavey’s killer may not yet have been caught.



The claim was made after three workers at the luxury Legends Hotel, where the newlywed was on honeymoon, appeared in court charged in connection with her murder.

Police chief Dhun Iswur Rampersad said that officers were “keeping an open mind” and that “there may have been some other guy who did the job”.

There were unconfirmed reports last night that two of |the three men arrested have confessed to the 27-year-old teacher’s murder.

It was reported that hotel room attendants Avinash Treebhoowoon (29) and Sandip Moneea (41) admitted to police that they killed Michaela.

However, head of the murder investigation team, Superintendent Yoosoof Soopun, denied that any confessions had been made.

“No, there have been no confessions. The investigation is ongoing. It is a very serious case,” he said.

Michaela’s husband, Down GAA footballer John McAreavey, who discovered her dead body in the bathroom of their hotel room on Monday afternoon, said he has been left heartbroken by her death.

“Words have no meaning. My beautiful wife, my best friend, my rock Michaela has been taken from me and I still can't take it in,” he said.

Suspects Treebhoowoon and Moneea appeared in Mapou District Court on the north of the island yesterday charged with murder. A third room attendant, Raj Theekoy (33), also appeared in court on a charge of conspiracy.

It is understood that all three employees had passed background checks in order to be “certified” to work at Legends Hotel.

During the hearing, which was in the Creole language, alleged killer Treebhoowoon claimed that he had been laid naked on a table and beaten on his feet with a hosepipe by police in a bid to get him to admit his guilt.

He added: “A towel was wrapped over my face and I was punched all over my body.”

Magistrate Bono Mally remanded the men in police custody for a week. They will return to court next Wednesday when they will either be formally charged or released.

Under the legal system in Mauritius, criminal suspects can be charged before an investigation is complete. A director of public prosecutions later decides whether to proceed with the initial charge.

All three men face up to 60 years in jail if found guilty.



It is understood that Michaela’s body has been released to her family who are hoping to bring her home today.

Her body remained in the morgue of the nearby Victoria Hospital last night.

However, police on the island have said they would like Mr |McAreavey to remain until early next week to assist with inquiries.

Police are hoping that skin tissue found under Michaela’s fingernails will prove crucial to their inquiry.

It is understood DNA tests on forensic evidence recovered from her body are due to be completed by the end of the week.

To leave a message of condolence to the Harte family please click here

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