Belfast Telegraph

Sunday 28 December 2014

Michaela honeymoon murder: CCTV images ruled irrelevant

CCTV footage allegedly showing Michaela Harte and John McAreavey arguing
CCTV footage allegedly showing Michaela Harte and John McAreavey arguing
John and Michaela McAreavey outside Notre Dame Cathedral in Paris, France.
Murder accused Sandip Moneea leaving the Supreme Court in Mauritius at the Michaela Mc Areavey murder Trial in Port Louis Mauritius yesterday.Pic Steve Humphreys12th June 2012.
(From the left) Mickey Harte, John McAreavey, Michaela Harte, Bishop John McAreavey and Brendan McAreavey are seen on the wedding day of Michaela Harte and John McAreavey at St. Malacheys Church Ballymacilrory on December 30, 2010.
John and Michaela McAreavey at the Giant's Causeway, in North Antrim
Resha Treebhoowoon, wife of Avinash Treebhoowoon accused of the murder of Michaela Mc Areavey leaving the Supreme Court in Mauritius on the second day of the Murder Trial in Port Louis Mauritius yesterday.Pic Steve Humphreys23rd May 2012.
Michaela McAreavey was found strangled as she honeymooned in Mauritius
CCTV footage allegedly showing Michaela Harte and John McAreavey arguing
John McAreavey at the Supreme Court in Port Louis, Mauritius
Michaela and John McAreavey outside Notre Dame Cathedral in Paris, France
Michaela McAreavey's coffin is carried from her parents' home in Ballygawley, Co Tyrone
John and Michaela McAreavey on their honeymoon
Tyrone Manager Mickey Harte at his daughter Michaela's wedding to John McAreavey
John and Michaela McAreavey, pictured here on a visit to the Giant's Causeway. The couple were on honeymoon in Mauritius when Michaela was murdered.
The remains of murdered honeymooner Michaela McAreavey return home last night from Mauritius.
The remains of murdered honeymooner Michaela McAreavey return home last night from Mauritius.
Former Tyrone Captain Peter Canavan (3rd left) joins members of the Errigal Ciaran GAA Club line the route as a hearse transporting the body of murdered Mauritius honeymooner Michaela McAreavey approaches in Ballygawley, Co Tyrone.
The body of Michaela McAreavey left George Best Belfast City airport in a hearse on Friday afternoon.
Michaela McAreavey's husband John, (foreground), waits for the hearse to leave Belfast city airport under police escort on the last leg of ehe journey home
Michaela's remains leave Victoria Hospital in Muiritius yesterday en route to the airport. 13th January 2011.
John McAreavey, husband of Michaela Harte leaving the mortuary at Victoria Hospital in Mauritius yesterday wearing her wedding ring and engagement ring around his neck
John McAreavey, husband of Michaela Harte leaving the mortuary at Victoria Hospital in Mauritius yesterday wearing her wedding ring and engagement ring around his neck
A hearse with the body of Michaela McAreavey, leaves George Best Belfast city airport. Friday January 14, 2011.
Michaela McAreavey on her wedding day
John McAreavey and wife Michaela Harte are seen on their wedding day
Michaela Harte Far Right front in St.Malachy's Primary School where she attended and later done her teaching placement..
Raj Theekoy
Suspect Avinash Treebhoowoon (29) is brought to Mapou Court, Port Louis Mauritius, Wednesday, Jan.12, 2011. The room attendant has been charged with the murder of Michaela McAreavey.
Suspect Sandip Moneea (41) covers his face as he is escorted to Mapou Court, Port Louis Mauritius, Wednesday, Jan. 12, 2011. The floor supervisor has been charged with the murder of Michaela McAreavey.
Raj Theekoy (33), faces a conspiracy charge in connection with the murder of Michaela McAreavey.
A distraught Mickey Harte with son Michael.
Michaela Harte (left) in St.Malachy's Primary School where she attended as a pupil and later completed her teaching placement.
Michaela Harte in with Throphy in St.Malachy's Primary School where Michaela attended and later done her teaching placement
Micheala Harte in fancy dress in St.Malachy's Primary School where she attended as a pupil and later completed her teaching placement..
A distraught Mickey Harte with sons Matthew (left) and Michael at their family home near Ballygawley
Michaela Harte after she had received a B.Ed at Queens University Belfast. (Picture taken in June 2006)
Balloons with the couple's names giving directions to St Malachy's Church outside Ballygwley where they recently got married
A distraught Mickey Harte at his family home near Ballygawley
Wedding flowers from the couple's recent marriage at St Malachy's Church outside Ballygawley
Alan Lewis - PhotopressBelfast.co.uk 11/1/2011Mandatory Credit - Picture by Justin KernoghanA distraught Mickey Harte with sons Matthew (left) and Michael at their family home near Ballygawley today.Michaela, the daughter of Tyrone gaelic football manager Mickey Harte was strangled, Mauritius police have said.Michaela McAreavey, 27, was found dead at the Legends hotel in Mauritius where she was staying while on honeymoon.The 27-year-old Irish woman had married John McAreavey, a member of Down's gaelic football team, on 30 December. He is not a suspect.Police in Mauritius intend to question six people about the killing later on Tuesday.
A wedding sign and balloons telling wedding guests directions to the church near the family home in Ballygawley
Mickey Harte (centre), is comforted at the family home outside Ballygawley in Co Tyrone
(From the left) Mickey Harte, John McAreavey, Michaela Harte, Bishop John McAreavey and Brendan McAreavey are seen on the wedding day of Michaela Harte and John McAreavey
Donegal Celtic and Cliftonville observe a minutes silence in respect of Michaela Harte at the game in west Belfast
Tyrone manager Mickey Harte and his daughter Michaella
Tyrone manager Mickey Harte and his daughter Michaela after the All Ireland Football Final 28/9/2003
Michaela Harte, daughter of Tyrone GAA manager Mickey Harte. Pic by Ian Magill. 23/3/10.Real Woman feature by Stephanie Bell.
Michaela Harte
Irish News handout of (left to right) Mickey Harte, John McAreavey, Michaela Harte, Bishop John McAreavey and Brendan McAreavey on the wedding day of Michaela Harte and John McAreavey at St. Malacheys Church Ballymacilrory on December 30, 2010. Michaela, the daughter of Tyrone GAA manager Mickey Harte was murdered in her hotel room, police in Mauritius confirmed today.
Tyrone manager Mickey Harte with his son David and daughter Michaela after his side's win at Croke Park
Tyrone GAA boss Mickey Harte graduates at Queens University pictured with his daughter Machela who also graduatedand became a Bachelor in Education
Michaela Harte appearing on the television programme the Late Late Show.
Tyrone manager Mickey Harte celebrates with his daughter Michaela and his son Matthew
John McAreavey and wife Michaela Harte are seen on their wedding day at St. Malacheys Church Ballymacilrory on December 30, 2010.
Mickey Harte, pictured in 2006 with his daughter Michaela
Michaela McAreavey was found strangled in her hotel room

A German chef found himself unexpectedly thrust into centre stage at the Michaela McAreavey trial when a controversial CCTV image was produced as evidence.

The grainy clip capturing a couple apparently embroiled in a row at the reception of the Legends hotel triggered feverish speculation in Mauritius when defence lawyers claimed it was the Co Tyrone teacher and her husband John.

But according to the prosecution, it was one of a number of "grotesque" attempts by the defence to point the finger at the widower.

Captured around 15 minutes after the state claimed she had been murdered in her hotel room, if the guests had been the McAreaveys the footage could have obliterated the case against the accused without any other evidence having to be produced.

With one Mauritian media outlet having flouted reporting restrictions and published the clip before it was even played to the jury - a move that prompted a contempt of court motion by the prosecution and a severe warning from the judge - it was no surprise huge crowds arrived to see the image officially broadcast on the 19th day of the trial.

But in the event the most hotly anticipated morning of the case at the Supreme Court in Port Louis did not turn out as many crammed into the public gallery thought it might.

After the three-minute clip was played, Assistant Commissioner of Police Yoosoof Soopun calmly informed the defence barrister who had produced it as evidence - Rama Valayden - he was 100% sure it was not the McAreaveys.

He went further.

The police chief said he had evidence that the couple were actually German holidaymakers Harald Hoyer and Savarese Graziella.

It appeared the defence team had been rocked by the officer's testimony.

The court rose for the day with judge Prithviraj Fecknah insisting the identity of the couple had still not been fully proved. More CCTV was to be played at the start of the fifth week in a bid to resolve the issue.

But no further footage was required.

If Mr Soopun's evidence had stuck a spoke in the wheels of the defence contention, they fell off altogether over that coming weekend.

Mr Hoyer and Ms Graziella had suddenly become the most sought after Germans in the Indian Ocean.

It was not long before he was tracked down to his home city of Munich where he worked as a chef.

And he was as sure as Mr Soopun - the couple pictured were definitely him and his now ex-girlfriend, Ms Graziella.

The cook said he would fly to Mauritius to testify to that fact if needed.

Not informed of Mr Hoyer's intervention, jurors who arrived at court on the Monday expecting to see further security camera pictures were instead informed by the judge that there had been a "development".

"It was the contention of the defence that the couple that was seen on the footage was the McAreaveys," he said.

"On the other hand the prosecution contends this was a German couple and you have heard the testimony of police witness Mr Soopun who had said it was a German couple according to his inquiry.

"I have now to inform you that counsel for accused number one Mr (Sanjeev) Teeluckdharry and for accused number two Mr Valayden have stated they are not pressing on this issue concerning the identity of this couple.'

Mr Teeluckdharry told the jurors the footage was not clear enough for him to identify the couple while, Mr Valayden said his decision was based on "new information".

Justice Fecknah said the identity of the couple was no longer an issue for the jury's 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.

In his closing address, principal state counsel Mehdi Manrakhan said the CCTV claim was one of a number of bids by the defence to wrongfully foist blame on to Mr McAreavey.

He said all the theories were short-lived and quickly abandoned after it was clear they had no foundation.

But the lawyer expressed concern that the "unbefitting" episodes had served to confuse the minds of the jurors.

"If anything, they were very insulting to John and his family and to the memory of Michaela," he added.

"The person who suffered the most in all this, as if he had not suffered enough after the death of the love of his life, Michaela, was undoubtedly John James McAreavey."

In regard to the CCTV, what the defence believed had the potential to blow the state case out of the water actually fizzled out with hardly a pop.



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