22/05/2012

Honeymoon Murder Trial Begins

Two men charged with a honeymoon murder go on trial in Mauritius today.

Michaela McAreavey, 27, was found strangled in her luxury hotel on 10 January last year, just 12 days after getting married in Ballymacilroy, County Tyrone.

Avinash Treebhoowoon, 30, and Sandip Moneea, 42, both workers at the Legends Hotel at the time of the incident, have denied murder.

Lawyers for Mr Moneea, a former floor supervisor, will ask for him to be tried separately from Mr Treebhoowoon, a room attendant at the complex.

This would result in today’s trial being put on hold.

Detectives from the PSNI were present this morning in Mauritius’s capital, Port Louis, and helped widower John McAreavey through the crowd at the Supreme Court there.

Mr McAreavey is accompanied by his father, his sister and Mark Harte, Michaela’s brother.

Michaela’s father, Tyrone gaelic football manager Mickey Harte, confirmed through a spokesman that he will not be attending the trial.

But Mr McAreavey has been called by the prosecution to give evidence, as one of 35 witnesses.

A room cleaner at the hotel, Raj Theekoy, is the key witness - police say he was just outside the room and has crucial evidence about the moments after the killing.

Other hotel staff including a bell boy, the chief security officer and the resort director will take to the witness stand in what is expected to be a two-week trial.

(NE)

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