Tuesday 17 October 2017

Acquitted men say they will pray Michaela gets justice

Cormac McQuinn in Mauritius

THE two men cleared of murdering Michaela McAreavey have been told they can return to their jobs at the former Legends Hotel.

Avinash Treebhoowoon was called by management at the renamed Lux Grande Gaube Hotel yesterday morning, congratulated on his acquittal and told he could return to work.

Meanwhile, Sandip Moneea was also called by hotel manager Brice Lunot but says he has not decided if he will return to work at the luxury resort.

The offer came as the two men enjoyed their first day of freedom after being found not guilty of Michaela's murder.

Yesterday, Mr Treebhoowoon went shopping with his wife Reshma.

"I am very happy today because I am with my family," he said. "I want to get back to work and lead a normal life."

Speaking of the couple's plans for the future, Reshma Treebhoowoon told the Irish Independent: "The director of the hotel phoned him in the morning and told him to come back to work."

"Because I am an innocent man," Mr Treebhoowoon added.

His wife continued: "They phoned Sandip also and told him to come back to work."

Mr Treebhoowoon said: "I will go back, but not now. Maybe after one month."

Mr Moneea confirmed that he, too, had received a call from hotel management. Speaking at his home, a short drive from the former Legends Hotel, he said: "I will take a break now, then think about where to start."

Innocent

His wife Rekha said: "You will return to your workplace at Legends," and Mr Moneea added: "I'll be very happy to return because I liked working at Legends. I like the place, I like the people."

Asked when he would go back to work, he said: "I have to take that decision."

Rekha Moneea said before her husband returns to work he has to meet the manager but added: "He is very happy for Sandip."

Asked if he knew anything about the identity of Michaela's killer, Mr Treebhoowoon said: "No. I leave it to God.

"Wherever Michaela is, God will keep her well; and the person who has taken her life, he will pay for this."

His wife said: "Even we are sad for Michaela but these two persons were the wrong persons that the police locked up.

"We pray that the real guilty person is found and everyone will know who it is because we all want to know." Mr Moneea also said: "From the very bottom of my heart I want Michaela to get justice. It's sad people coming to my country, coming to my hotel and then to lose their life."

And despite the wild celebrations outside court after the verdict was read out, and the satisfaction both men were clearly feeling yesterday, they remain traumatised and angry.

Mr Treebhoowoon says he will "never forget" his treatment by police, who he says beat and tortured him into confessing to Michaela's murder.

He said: "It will always be in my head. It was very difficult for me because I am innocent and I was never beaten before."

He also said: "I'm sad that we lost our baby," referring to the miscarriage his wife suffered, which she blames on the "stresses" of his detention.

Irish Independent

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