Belfast Telegraph

Hotel pair 'had killing instinct'

Two hotel workers showed a killing instinct by brutally murdering honeymooner Michaela McAreavey when they could have just walked away, their trial has been told.

Avinash Treebhoowoon and Sandip Moneea exhibited no respect for human life when they attacked the Co Tyrone teacher in her hotel room in Mauritius, a prosecutor claimed in his closing statement to the jury.

Mehdi Manrakhan also rounded on defence attempts to point the finger of blame at Mrs McAreavey's widower John during the seven-week trial, by canvassing what he branded "unseemly and grotesque" theories.

He said they were short-lived and quickly abandoned but were nevertheless a source of confusion to the jurors and an insult to Mr McAreavey, his family and the memory of his late wife.

Mr McAreavey, at times visibly emotional, listened to the 90-minute closing submission from the front row of a packed public gallery in the Supreme Court in Port Louis surrounded by family members.

Describing the trial as the most taxing and challenging of his career, Mr Manrakhan told the nine jurors the evidence could leave them in no doubt that the two accused were responsible.

Mrs McAreavey, the daughter of Tyrone Gaelic football boss Mickey Harte, was found strangled in her room in the island's luxury Legends Hotel last January. The prosecution claims former staff members Treebhoowoon and Moneea murdered her after she interrupted them stealing.

"This was a robbery that turned into a brutal murder," said principal state counsel Mr Manrakhan. "It would have been easier for the two accused to beg forgiveness from Michaela and to walk away.

"The worst that could have happened would have been the loss of their jobs. But they decided to murder her. This shows that they both possess killing instincts and have no respect for human life."

Ex-floor supervisor at Legends Moneea, 43, from Petit Raffray, and former room attendant Treebhoowoon, 32, from Plaine des Roches, deny the 27-year-old newlywed's murder.

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