Belfast Telegraph

Wednesday 17 September 2014

Rowing couple on CCTV discounted

CCTV footage allegedly showing Michaela Harte and John McAreavey arguing
Sandip Moneea denies murdering Michaela McAreavey
Mickey Harte, pictured in 2006 with his daughter Michaela

The identity of a couple apparently rowing in the hotel where honeymooner Michaela McAreavey was strangled is no longer an issue in the trial of two men accused of her murder, the judge has told jurors.

Defence lawyers had originally claimed the man and woman captured on grainy CCTV images at the reception of the luxury Legends hotel in Mauritius were the Co Tyrone teacher and her husband John.

But barristers for defendants Avinash Treebhoowoon and Sandip Moneea informed the Supreme Court in Port Louis they would not be pursuing that line of questioning.

Their move came after a request from the prosecution for the defence counsel to make clear the couple were not the McAreaveys.

The lawyers stopped short of making a definitive statement on who was in the CCTV footage but said they would not be "pressing" on the matter.

In response, Judge Mr Justice Prithviraj Fecknah told the jury the identity of the couple was not an issue for their deliberation.

"As far as you are concerned as members of the jury you need not delve any further into this aspect of the evidence," he said.

Last week, assistant police commissioner Yoosoof Soopun told the court the couple captured by the security camera the day Mrs McAreavey died were actually German holidaymakers Harald Hoyer and Savarese Graziella.

The footage was filmed just after 3pm on January 10 last year, about 15 minutes after the prosecution claim the 27-year-old daughter of Tyrone Gaelic football boss Mickey Harte was murdered by two hotel employees.

Former room attendant Treebhoowoon, 31, and floor supervisor Moneea, 42, deny her murder.

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