Northern Ireland

Michaela McAreavey's widower John gives evidence in Mauritius

The widower of Michaela McAreavey has told the trial of two men accused of murdering her that on the day she was killed, his "life ended as well".

Avinash Treebhoowoon, 30, and Sandip Moneea, 42, both deny murdering Mrs McAreavey in her honeymoon suite in Mauritius in January 2011.

John McAreavey said she was "a very special human being".

He told the court he felt the police had been insensitive towards him in the hours after his wife's death.

Mr McAreavey, who is appearing as a prosecution witness, said one officer told him: "What are you crying about? You're young, you'll get another wife."

He said he was handcuffed and left alone in a room for more than five hours.

Mrs McAreavey, 27, a teacher from County Tyrone, was found dead at the Legends Hotel. She was the daughter of Tyrone Gaelic football manager Mickey Harte.

Mr McAreavey recalled finding their hotel room door open, then seeing her in the bath with the water still running.

He said his wife had returned from a poolside restaurant to their room to get biscuits. He said he had offered to go, but she had insisted that she would.

"Obviously I wish I had gone," he told the court.

Rushing water

Asked what was going through his mind when he heard the rushing water, he said his first thought was that Michaela had just decided at the last minute to have a bath.

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

In emotional scenes at the Supreme Court in Mauritius, he said: "I ran to the bathroom, dropped my bag and grabbed Michaela."

He said he did not know what was going on, but she was cold and he noticed marks on her neck.

He said he pulled Mrs McAreavey from the bathtub, and although he did not know CPR he attempted to resuscitate her.

"I was holding her in my arms, telling her to wake up - Michaela, Michaela, come on, wake up," he told the jury.

Mr McAreavey said he then screamed for help.

'Wonderful person'

He began his evidence on Wednesday by setting the scene and talking about their relationship.

He said his wife was a "wonderful person", and showed the court photographs taken on their wedding day and during their honeymoon.

Mr McAreavey said it had been Michaela's idea to have their honeymoon in Mauritius, after reading favourable reviews from other Irish couples on the internet.

During his evidence, he also spoke about how he was treated by police following his wife's death.

Mr McAreavey said four officers had brought him from the hotel to a "derelict-looking building", where he was put in a room.

Officers took off his shirt and examined him for marks, he told the court.

"I could see what was going through their minds," he said.


"They put handcuffs on me and I was sat down on a bench."

Mr McAreavey said he was then left alone in the room.

Image caption John McAreavey's father Brendan and his sister Claire were among those supporting him in court

"It was for at least five hours, I'm sure, more - actually it was late into the night."

He said that after making a statement, he was eventually released and brought back to the hotel where a nurse cared for him through the night.

Later on Wednesday, Mr McAreavey was cross-examined by defence lawyers, who asked him about his movements on the day his wife was killed, and discrepancies in his six police statements.

Mr McAreavey said: "During those statements, I didn't care one iota about what was put down.

"My life had ended, and all my focus was on getting my wife home.

"I make no excuses for not being able to remember each and every detail."

Among police photographs of the crime scene were ones with Michaela's body, and he clearly found this distressing.

At the end of his cross-examination, the judge told him he was free to leave the court or stay and watch the proceedings. He left the witness stand to rejoin his family.

The court has adjourned for the day.

Mr McAreavey was accompanied in court by his sister Claire, his father Brendan and his brother-in-law Mark Harte, as well as an Irish Embassy official and two PSNI detectives.

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