Belfast Telegraph

Staff at Michaela McAreavey murder hotel will give DNA swabs in fresh police probe

By Deborah McAleese

Police in Mauritius were today set to begin DNA testing of current and former employees at the luxury hotel where Michaela McAreavey was murdered in a new bid to catch her killer.

A fresh police investigation was launched following severe criticism of the authorities in Mauritius after two men accused of murdering the 27-year-old daughter of Tyrone football manager Mickey Harte were found not guilty following an eight-week trial.

Several people have been questioned by police over the past few days as detectives attempt to gather new evidence.

A process of DNA testing of staff members who were working at the Legends Hotel when Michaela (right) was killed was due to begin today. Employees who are still at the hotel will be tested first.

Those who have since left the hotel are to be visited by officers over the next few weeks to submit DNA samples.

Officers from the PSNI and An Garda Siochana have not been involved in the new probe, despite comments from the Prime Minister of Mauritius last week that he would welcome their assistance.

It is understood that the PSNI has not received a formal request for assistance.

“We have not received any official request to get involved. We do not have any role in this investigation at the moment,” a PSNI source said.

The team of detectives from the Mauritian police force believe that the DNA tests could uncover the person, or people, whose DNA was discovered on items found in the hotel room where Michaela was found strangled.

However, even if they are able to match the profiles found on the items, the evidence may not be admissible as police from the original investigation contaminated the crime scene by not wearing protective gear while carrying out their investigations.

Police are also trying to determine who left a footprint on the bed in the room. No tests were carried out on the footprint during the original investigation.

Michaela’s body was discovered in the bathtub by husband John after he went to look for her when she failed to return to the restaurant where they had been having lunch on January 10, 2011.

She had gone back to their room to get a biscuit to have with a cup of tea.

Hotel employees Sandip Moneea and Avinash Treebhoowoon were charged with murder, but they were cleared earlier this month by a jury in the Criminal Court of Mauritius.

Story so far

Detectives in Mauritius launched a new investigation into the January 2011 murder of Michaela McAreavey after the original probe was criticised for being flawed and failed to provide sufficient evidence for a conviction. As part of the new investigation, officers will be taking DNA samples from employees at the hotel where the 27-year-old was on honeymoon with her husband John. The PSNI said it would consider any request by the Mauritian authorities to assist in the new inquiry. However, no formal request for help has been made.

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