Northern Ireland

Michaela murder suspects take part in reconstruction

Sandip Moneea, 41, Raj Theekoy, 33, and Avinash Treebhoowoon, 29, have been charged over the killing
Image caption Sandip Moneea, 41, Raj Theekoy, 33, and Avinash Treebhoowoon, 29, have been charged over the killing

Two of the suspects in the murder of Michaela McAreavey on honeymoon in Mauritius have taken part in a reconstruction of the crime.

Mrs McAreavey, 27, daughter of Tyrone Gaelic football boss Mickey Harte, was found murdered in her honeymoon hotel room on the island on Monday.

Three men have been charged in connection with her killing.

Avinash Treebhoowoon, 29, has confessed to the murder.

The confession followed the revelation that a lawyer for another man, Raj Theekoy, who is charged with conspiracy to murder, said his client had spoken to police and implicated the other two men.

Sandip Moneea, 41, and Mr Treebhoowoon appeared in court on Wednesday accused of her murder.

All three were remanded in police custody for a week and will return to court next Wednesday, when they are expected either to be formally charged or released.

BBC Northern Ireland reporter, Mervyn Jess, who is in Mauritius, outlined the latest developments on Thursday.

"There was a reconstruction held today at the actual location of the crime at the Legends Hotel," he said.

"In the reconstruction the suspects outlined what they said happened, notes were recorded by the police and photographs were taken. It lasted about one and a half hours. Journalists were prevented from attending the reconstruction by the hotel management.

"Now that the police have the confession there will be a pooling together of all the evidence which will then be put to the director of public prosecutions.

"The DPP will then decide whether or not the two men charged with murder will face those charges in court or whether they will face a lesser charge. If they are found guilty of murder they face up to 45 years in jail. If they are instead found guilty of manslaughter they face up to 18 years in jail.


"I spoke today to the officer in charge of the investigation and he outlined quite graphically what the suspect said to him.

"It was a robbery gone wrong. Two men had gained entry to the McAreavey's room while they were out. They had been in the apartment earlier doing their jobs - they were room attendants, so they would be in the apartment cleaning and making the bed and so on.

"They had noticed a fair amount of money in the room either in a purse or in a wallet. And they obviously returned to see if that money was still there while the couple were out.

"They were then in the process of stealing the money when Michaela came back to the apartment unexpectedly to get a biscuit to have with a cup of tea.

"She discovered these men stealing money, then obviously there was an altercation, she was pushed to the ground and held down, she was screaming, there was a bit of a struggle.

"Then one of the men held her legs while the other applied pressure to her neck and that pressure resulted in her being strangled and dying at the scene very quickly. The men then took her and placed her in the bath and turned on the tap."

The body of Mrs McAreavey is expected to arrive in Northern Ireland from Mauritius on Friday.

It is understood her family hope to hold her funeral next Monday - in the same County Tyrone church where she married on 30 December.

'She is my life'

On Wednesday evening, a police chief in Mauritius told the Press Association that skin tissue found under the fingernails of Mrs McAreavey could prove crucial to the police case against the three men charged over her killing.

Mrs McAreavey's husband, John, has described her as "his rock".

Image caption Michaela Harte married John McAreavey on 30 December

He said their hopes, dreams and future were gone and he had been left heartbroken and totally devastated.

"I love my wife, very, very much and my world revolved around her.

"I can't describe in words how lost I feel as Michaela is not just the light of my life - she is my life," Mr McAreavey said.

The funeral mass is expected to take place at St Malachy's in Ballymacilroy near the Harte family home in County Tyrone.

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