Northern Ireland

Michaela McAreavey trial told hotel room was in disarray

The hotel room in which Michaela McAreavey's body was discovered had been disturbed and was in disarray, her murder trial in Mauritius has heard.

The most senior police officer to view the crime scene in the immediate aftermath of Michaela's death has been giving evidence at the Supreme Court.

He said her body had been placed in a bath which was three-quarters full and which appeared to be bloodstained.

Two hotel workers deny murdering the 27-year-old teacher in January 2011.

'Suspect'

The police inspector also told the court that a drawer in Michaela's hotel bathroom was lying open and its contents were in disarray.

The witness was also asked why official police records referred to her husband, John McAreavey, as "the suspect" and the "the accused".

He replied that he did not know why his colleagues had written this.

The inspector was also asked why a police officer was posted outside the hotel room to which Mr McAreavey had moved.

He explained that Mr McAreavey was a foreigner, he had just lost his wife in a murder case and his officers wanted to provide "police assistance with due respect to the protocol of victim support".

Guests

The defence team asked the inspector if he had inquired about any guests who may have checked out of the hotel on the night of the murder.

They also asked him if he had interviewed guests who had checked out on the following day.

The inspector replied: "Legends is a five-star hotel my lord, clearly there are people leaving and coming every day.

"I did not think to consider to inquire of everyone," he said.

Later on Tuesday, there were outbreaks of laughter from the public gallery in reponse to questioning by defence lawyer Ravi Rutnah.

However, the laughter stopped when Mr McAreavey's sister Claire turned around in her seat and said: "Be quiet please".

The widower's sister and Michaela's brother Mark Harte are representing the McAreavey and Harte families in Mauritius.

Mr McAreavey is not in court as he is due to be called a witness for the prosecution later in the trial.

The trial of Avinash Treebhoowoon, 30, and Sandip Moneea, 42, continues.

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