Michaela McAreavey murder accused are acquitted in Mauritius
Two men acquitted of murdering honeymooner Michaela McAreavey in Mauritius expressed joy and relief last night as their lawyers insisted the real culprit could still be found.
Sandip Moneea and Avinash Treebhoowoon were mobbed by relatives and supporters in chaotic scenes both in and outside the Supreme Court in the capital Port Louis, sparked by their unanimous not guilty verdicts.
Amid the celebrations, lawyers Sanjeev Teeluckdharry and Rama Valayden launched a scathing attack on the Mauritian police team that had extracted a so-called murder confession from Mr Treebhoowoon and demanded a fresh probe into the crime.
The tragic newlywed’s widower John was not there to witness the loud and boisterous aftermath of the verdicts, having quickly walked out of court with family members as soon as they were read out.
Afterwards a statement from Mrs McAreavey’s relatives said words could not express their desolation.
The nine jurors took just over two hours to find both men not guilty of murdering the daughter of Tyrone gaelic football manager Mickey Harte in the island’s luxury Legends hotel last January.
The 27-year-old teacher was found dead in the bathtub of her deluxe room shortly after lunching with her husband at a poolside restaurant.
Both defendants worked at the hotel at the time .
Outside court Mr Treebhoowoon embraced his crying wife Reshma.
“My wife and I are very happy,” he said.
He also expressed sympathy for the McAreaveys and Hartes.
“I am so sad about the lady,” he said. “But I did not do this, I did not kill this lady.”
Mr Moneea wept as he hugged his lawyer Rama Valayden.
“I am so happy to be back with my family,” he said. “These past 18 months have been very, very hard.”
The Harte and McAreavey families issued a brief statement conveying their disappointment. “There are no words which can describe the sense of devastation and desolation now felt by both families,” it read.
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Wednesday 19 June 2013
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