Belfast Telegraph

New Michaela McAreavey trial looms as four more suspects identified

By David Young and Claire Williamson

A new trial over the murder of Northern Ireland honeymooner Michaela McAreavey could be reopened in the coming days after police in Mauritius identified four suspects.

The family of the Co Tyrone teacher have said they have been informed about the new developments in the investigation.

The 27-year-old, who was the only daughter of Tyrone Gaelic football manager Mickey Harte, was strangled in her room in the luxury Legends hotel in Mauritius in 2011.

Two former hotel workers were acquitted of the crime after a high-profile trial on the holiday island in the summer of 2012.

A new probe by Mauritian police was launched in the wake of the trial.

The Harte and McAreavey families, who have previously been critical about what they claimed was a lack of progress in finding the killers, said they had now been updated with developments in the investigation.

Their statement follows media reports on the island that four new suspects, all allegedly former hotel employees, have been identified.

The reports said the news has been confirmed by Satyajit Boolell, the Director of Public Prosecutions in Mauritius, and that a trial could be reopened in the coming days.

It quotes Satyajit Boolell as saying police are now working hard to bring "fresh and compelling evidence" for a new trial.

The DPP also said it expected a comprehensive and well-crafted police record.

A spokeswoman for the families said: "The McAreavey and Harte families have been recently informed about new developments in the investigation into Michaela's murder.

"They will await further information on those developments before making any additional comment.".

Sandip Moneea and Avinash Treebhoowoon were cleared of the newlywed's murder by a jury at the Supreme Court in Port Louis in July 2012.

The Ballygawley teacher and John were only married for a few days when she was murdered at their hotel.

After they had enjoyed a lunch together, the former beauty queen returned to their room to get biscuits and her new husband never saw her alive again.

When she did not come back, he went to the hotel room where he found his bride dead in the bathtub.

Thousands lined the streets for Michaela's funeral – her coffin was shouldered by her husband and her father, and she was buried in her wedding dress.

To keep his late wife's memory alive Mr McAreavey helped set up the Michaela Foundation which funds bursaries for students and a summer camp for girls aged 11-13.

Belfast Telegraph


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