Belfast Telegraph

Sunday 28 December 2014

Man released over Michaela McAreavey death

Tyrone manager Mickey Harte and his daughter Michaela after the All Ireland Football Final 28/9/2003
Tyrone manager Mickey Harte and his daughter Michaela after the All Ireland Football Final 28/9/2003

A man arrested in connection with the murder of Michaela McAreavey has had all charges against him dropped.

Security officer Seenarain Mungoo was released “unconditionally” yesterday at the District Court of Mapou in Mauritius. He was the fifth suspect to be arrested during the investigation

Mrs McAreavey, the daughter of Tyrone GAA boss Mickey Harte, was murdered on her honeymoon on the Indian Ocean island last month.

Four men still face charges in connection with her death.

Avinash Treebhoowoon (29) and Sandip Moonea (41) are charged with murdering Mrs McAreavey, who was strangled in her hotel room.

Two other men are charged with conspiracy to murder.

Yesterday, Michaela's father, Tyrone gaelic football team manager Mickey Harte, said the reaction across Ireland's political and religious divide to her murder had helped assure her family her death was part of God's bigger plan.

Mr Harte, a devout Catholic, said the volume of support they had received from members of other faiths had given them great comfort.

"Perhaps the most significant feature of the goodwill and empathy generated through Michaela's death was the volume of cross community support we as a family, and John, have received," he said.

Democratic Unionist and Ulster Unionist politicians, including DUP First Minister Peter Robinson, were among those to visit the family home near Ballygawley, Co Tyrone following the murder.

Representatives from other sporting codes, including Ulster Rugby and the Irish Football Association, attended her funeral.

Writing his first weekly column in the Irish News since the tragedy, Mr Harte said the support from the wider sporting community had also heartened him.

He added: "The number of cards and letters we have received, again across the entire religious and political spectrum, is now in the thousands, and for that we are most appreciative.

"As you would understand the task of reading them all is quite daunting, but I want to assure all those kind enough to take time to send such messages that I will personally read every syllable over the coming months."

The Harte and McAreavey families gathered for a Mass to mark a month since Michaela's death in St Malachy's chapel, Ballymacilroy, near Ballygawley last night.

The service took place in the same church where the young couple were married in December and where Michaela's funeral was held.

Earlier this week, the families revealed they are to set up a charity in Michaela's memory.

Her loved ones said that they hope to establish a charitable trust in her name which they believe could become a force for good.

Her husband John said his late wife, a member of the Catholic Pioneer alcohol abstinence movement, had inspired him to be a better person.

Mr McAreavey, a Co Down GAA player, said: "From the enormous amount of support and kind words I have received from people in response to the tragic loss of my beautiful wife Michaela, it has struck me the way she lived her life has had a profound effect on many people.

"The values that embodied Michaela's life seem to have captured the public's heart. For people to be aware of just how beautiful Michaela was in this regard fills me with great joy and pride.

"I am eternally grateful and privileged to have been such a large part of her life and this alone helps console me during this difficult time.

"Many people have encouraged me to act on the positive lifestyle and morals that Michaela enjoyed in her life. She has indeed had a major positive impact on my life in this regard also.

"She inspired me to live my life to the full and supported me to be the person I wanted to be. By help shaping my thinking on how this was to be achieved, she has left me a stronger and better person."

Mr Harte said his daughter's death had left his family totally devastated.

"If we attempt to put human logic on this awful event, then there are no answers," he wrote in today's Irish News.

"Yet, if we view this on a spiritual plane, the evidence is already abundant that Michaela is very much what she would have described herself as 'God's bigger plan'. During her short but fruitful life, she used this logic to encourage me when all-important football results didn't go my way."

He added: "Both families are convinced that it's only by the power of prayer and the presence of Michaela's spirit that we are all able to function at all these last number of weeks, and we thank you all, particularly those from other denominations, who have been so thoughtful in this respect.

"We are amazed at the number of people who have written and begin by saying they have never before felt compelled to do such a thing, yet feel touched enough by Michaela's life and death to make contact. Definitely part of God's bigger plan, Michaela."

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