Northern Ireland

Michaela McAreavey case: Mauritius prosecutor closes

John and Michaela McAreavey
Image caption John and Michaela McAreavey pictured at their wedding, days before she was murdered

The prosecution in the trial of two men accused of murdering Michaela McAreavey has given its closing speech.

The 27-year-old Tyrone woman was killed at the Legends Hotel in Mauritius in January 2011.

Principal state counsel Mehdi Manrakhan said that during the trial several "grotesque theories" had been put forward by the defence.

"All the above theories were short-lived and quickly abandoned one after the other," Mr Manrakhan said.

"The person who suffered the most in all this, as if he had not suffered enough after the death of the love of his life, Michaela, was undoubtedly John James McAreavey.

"He came all the way from Northern Ireland with his family to seek justice for the wrongful murder of his beloved wife."

Sandip Moneea and Avinash Treebhoowoon, both former workers at the Legends Hotel, where the couple were staying, deny the killing.

Turning to the medical evidence, Mr Manrakhan said the Chief Medical Officer, Dr Gungadin, had concluded that Mrs McAreavey had been killed by manual compression to the neck, not by drowning and not by use of a belt or rope.

Image caption Sandip Moneea denies murdering Michaela McAreavey

"It is clear from the medical evidence of Dr Gungadin that the injuries inflicted over the neck region of Michaela were of such a nature, that there can be no doubt that whoever inflicted those injuries on her neck did so with the clear intention to kill her," he said.

Room card

The prosecutor said a key breakthrough for the police was a door reading for the room where the McAreaveys were staying, which showed that two minutes before Michaela entered the room, a magnetic 'supervisor' card had been used to access the room.

The card was never found, but a dummy card had been fabricated to replace it in the control room so that it would go unnoticed.

Mr Manrakhan then moved on to the confession of one of the accused, Avinash Treebhoowoon, 32.

He said the evidence of the medical examiner matched Mr Treebhoowoon and the autopsy came well after the confession. He also said the time Michaela entered the room tallied with the accused's confession.

Beatings claim

He said the accused had claimed his confession was the result of beatings and torture by the police.

"Members of the jury, this was the first time a year and a half after his arrest, at his trial, that he would provide details of the alleged beatings and torture when he had several occasions to do so before," he said.

Mr Manrakhan said the evidence of three doctors contradicted the claims of police brutality.

The state counsel then turned to the other accused, 42-year-old Sandip Moneea, who said he had been on the phone to his sister at the time of the killing.

"Members of the jury, accused number two (Mr Moneea) has given six statements to the Police and nowhere in these six statements does he ever state that he was on the phone at the material time," he said.

"The case for the state is not that accused number two never made that phone call. Rather, our case is that when accused number two made that call he was in room 1025 (the McAreaveys' room)."

Image caption Avinash Treebhoowoon pictured arriving at the Supreme Court in Mauritius for an earlier hearing

He added: "After the murder he called the closest person to him. The sister who raised him. The sister who he turns to whenever he is in need."

Mr Manrakhan said the key prosecution witness, Raj Theekoy, had nothing to gain by lying.

"He has never had any trouble with either of the two accused and this is even confirmed by them," he said.

'Unforgettable nightmare'

Mr Manrakhan said the McAreaveys could not have seen that their honeymoon would turn into an "unforgettable nightmare".

"A young Irish couple in the prime of their youth, who after a fairytale wedding, had chosen Mauritius, as a destination for their honeymoon," he said.

"The husband left Mauritius as a widower.

"His wife had been brutally murdered in the very hotel room where they were meant to spend what would have been the best days of their married life."

The trial continues.

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