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Grief, anger follow acquittal in Michaela trial

POSTED ON July 23rd  - POSTED IN News, News & Views

The Irish government is set to launch a formal complaint with the Mauritian government after a newspaper in the Indian Ocean island

published graphic photographs of the body of an Irish citizen murdered there.

Michaela McAreavey, a 27-year-old teacher from County Tyrone, was killed in January 2011 while on honeymoon in Mauritius with her husband John. She was the daughter of one of Ireland’s best known sports figures, Mickey Harte, manager of the Tyrone Gaelic football team.

Two men who went on trial for her murder were found not guilty last week following a seven-week court battle.

Avinash Treebhoowoon, 32, and Sandip Moneea, 43, both worked at the hotel where Mrs. McAreavey was murdered in her room.

After a trial lasting seven weeks, it took a jury at the Supreme Court in Port Louis just two hours to acquit the pair of strangling Mrs. McAreavey to death and dumping her body in a hotel bathtub.

the acquittal prompted a furious reaction in Ireland but will celebrations on the island by family members and supporters of the accused.

The prosecution claimed That Michaela had found the defendants ransacking her suite and said they murdered her to prevent her from raising the alarm.

But the trial heard claims that one of the men had been beaten into a confession, while the other was on the phone to his sister at the time the murder took place. No DNA evidence was found linking either men to the victim.

The basic competence of the police investigation and the officers who carried it out was questioned by the defense team with the testimony of successive policemen seized upon by defense lawyers as evidence of a mismanaged, insensitive and unprofessional inquiry.

Following the verdict, the McAreavey and Harte families released a statement saying: “After waiting 18 months in search of justice for Michaela and following the endurance of seven harrowing weeks of this trial, there are no words, which can describe the sense of devastation and desolation now felt by both families.”

A further blow to the families came on Sunday when crime scene photographs, including Mrs. McAreavey’s body and close-ups of her injuries, were published in a Mauritian Sunday newspaper.

The photographs have provoked outrage in Ireland with a spokesman for the McAreavey and Harte families saying: “They are in shock as to how

far this has gone.”

Taoiseach Enda Kenny branded the publication of the photos “a gross affront to human dignity” and said the Irish government would be lodging a formal complaint with the Mauritian government and protesting to officials in Mauritius in “the strongest possible terms.”

The Mauritian police have launched an investigation into how the photographs were obtained by the paper.

 

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