30/05/2012

Lawyer Withdraws From Honeymoon Murder Trial

A honeymoon murder trial has been adjourned for the day after a lawyer walked out.

The dramatic twist came after a court in Mauritius heard evidence relating to the moments before Tyrone newlywed Michaela McAreavey died.

Lawyer Ravi Rutnah said his professional integrity had been questioned and he would no longer represent accused Avinash Treebhoowoon.

A prosecution witness said the lawyer was late for a meeting with his client two days after the murder and then shared fried rice with police officers.

He said: "As a direct consequence of (the claims), I have decided to withdraw."

Mr Rutnah will now act as a witness in the trial of Treebhoowoon and co-accused Sandip Moneea, who both deny murder.

Details of an alleged confession were read out to the court earlier today.

Treebhoowoon’s statement said that Mrs McAreavey had found him in her honeymoon suite, holding her purse, which he intended to steal.

It read: "I tried to leave, but she tried to stop me, so I pushed her and she fell on her back. I saw Sandip at that moment. She was screaming. So I told Sandip: 'Lets stop her screaming'."

The statement, which the court were told was made three days after the killing, said Mrs McAreavey lost consciousness and the men lifted her into the bath, where they ran the water so their traces would be covered.

Treebhoowoon has since claimed the confession was forced out of him after a beating at the hands of police officers.

The trial continues.

(NE)

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