Belfast Telegraph

Three years on from murder of Michaela McAreavey, John finds new love

BY CLAIRE WILLIAMSON

Almost three years after his wife was murdered on their honeymoon, family and friends of John McAreavey are delighted he has found new love.

In January 2011 Michaela McAreavey (nee Harte), the only daughter of Tyrone GAA boss Mickey Harte, was found dead in their hotel suite in Mauritius.

The widower is now dating Tara Brennan, an accountant from Maynooth, Co Kildare.

A spokesman for Mr McAreavey described the pair's relationship as an "embryonic friendship that has grown".

"Friends and family are happy for him," the spokesman added.

A family friend of Mr McAeavey (33) added: "He's a young man and he should be allowed to move ahead with his life."

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

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

When she did not come back he went to the hotel room but couldn't get in.

He asked for help and when he entered the room he found his bride dead in the bathtub.

Two hotel staff were acquitted of her murder and no one has been jailed for the killing. The news of the 27-year-old bride's death was reported worldwide.

Thousands lined the streets for Michaela's funeral and one of Northern Ireland's busiest roads was blocked to traffic as mourners made their way to St Malachy's church outside Ballygawley.

The 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 a bursary for students and a summer camp for girls aged 11-13.

It focuses on five principles that the McAreavey and Harte families say were pivotal in Michaela's life – faith, fashion, fun, well-being and the Irish language.

But yesterday as it emerged in a Sunday newspaper that Mr McAreavey was spotted in his native Lawrencetown near Banbridge, Co Down, on a series of dates, he took to Twitter to request privacy.

A source told the newspaper: "Everyone in the parish is delighted for John. There have been murmurings for quite a while but people have been very respectful at letting him get on with things privately.

"After Michaela's death people thought he'd never find happiness again, so they're thrilled he's been able to move on in this way."

Another added: "John is a major driving force behind Michaela's foundation and obviously he'll never forget her, but it's good to see him take this step."

On both his Facebook and Twitter pages there are pictures posted of the pair together including when they took part in a charity fun run together in Maynooth on Boxing Day, and sitting next to each other on a pre-Christmas night out.

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