Belfast Telegraph

Monday 21 April 2014

Editor's Viewpoint: Michaela's death touches everyone

Mickey Harte summed up the devastation his family is feeling after the murder of his daughter, Michaela, on honeymoon in Mauritius.

He said that many times in the past he had empathised with other bereaved families, but only now can he really feel the wrenching loss of someone so close. Effectively you have to walk in the shoes of the bereaved to know how they feel.

That the death was of a young woman, just married, and looking forward to her new life makes it all the more harrowing. How fickle is fate to turn the joyous occasion of her wedding just 14 days ago into the days of mourning that now exist. Life for the Harte family and for Michaela's husband, John McAreavey, will never be the same again. Trite words, maybe, but true.

What everyone now hopes for is a speedy arrest of the person responsible for Michaela's death. The police on the holiday island seem confident that the case can be brought to a swift conclusion and we hope their confidence is well placed. It is, of course, in their interest to ensure that the perpetrator is caught and punished as tourism is a huge contributor to the local economy.

Back here there has been enormous public support for the Harte and McAreavey families with messages of condolence being posted online in their hundreds.

There is no doubt that the families derive some comfort from those expressions of sorrow. They also have marvellous memories of a beautiful and radiant young woman which nothing can erase. Those memories will help to sustain them in the grief-wracked coming days as will the support of friends, neighbours and the wider community.

But, as Mr Harte said, they have a terrible cross to bear, one that no-one can lighten. Our thoughts and prayers go out to them.

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