Sunday 28 May 2017

Fourth man to be charged with conspiracy in Michaela murder

Anita Guidera and Michael McHugh

A fourth man was arrested yesterday by police in Mauritius investigating the murder of Michaela Harte on the holiday island.

He has been named as Dassen Narainen, who worked at the Legends Hotel as a security officer.

A source close to the investigation said: "It is still early. We can confirm the arrest but the inquiry has yet to get going. The suspect will be charged with conspiracy at the district court today."

It came a day after around 3,000 people attended the funeral of the 27-year-old, who was married to former Down footballer John McAreavey.

The daughter of All-Ireland winning Tyrone football manager Mickey Harte was strangled a week ago on the couple's honeymoon.

The three other suspects, all staff at the luxury hotel, have been charged in connection with the killing, thought to have happened as newlywed Michaela disturbed a burglary in her room.

Room attendant Abinash Treebhoowoon (29) and floor supervisor Sandip Moneea (41) have been charged with murder, and room attendant Raj Theekoy (33) with conspiracy to murder.

They are also due to appear in court today.

Meanwhile, Tyrone senior team footballers will wear black armbands tonight when they walk out on to the pitch for the first time since the tragic killing.

Innocent

They will also lead spectators in a minute's silence in Healy Park in Omagh before the McKenna Cup clash between Tyrone and UUJ. The game was postponed a week ago, following the news of Michaela's death.

Back in Mauritius, the families of the first three men charged maintain that they are innocent.

At today's court hearing, Mr Treebhoowoon's barrister, Ravi Rutnah, is expected to seek an independent inquiry into the police investigation.

The three, who are in custody, will seek bail at a later court appearance on February 2.

Yesterday, in the aftermath of one of the most high profile funerals ever witnessed in County Tyrone, the Harte and McAreavey families retreated behind closed doors to continue their grieving in private.

A close family friend said they had been "overwhelmed" by the numbers of people who had come to the funeral and sent messages of sympathy.

"They need the time and space now to come to terms with this tragedy in private," said the friend.

A special memorial service in Mauritius was attended by police, diplomats and hotel workers to remember Michaela. It was held at the same time as her Irish funeral service on Monday.

Leave your tribute to Michaela Harte at announcement.ie

Irish Independent

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