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Wednesday 7 December 2016

I signed statement with gun pointed at my head -- worker

Eimear Ni Bhraonain in Mauritius

Published 21/06/2011 | 05:00

A HOTEL worker charged in connection with Michaela Harte's murder has claimed that police held a gun to his head and forced him to sign false statements.

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Dassen Narayanan (26) is charged with conspiracy to commit larceny at the five-star Legends Hotel on January 10 and is due to appear in court in Mauritius this morning.

In an exclusive interview with the Irish Independent, Mr Narayanan said a plain-clothes detective pulled a gun to his head and stood over him while he wept and signed a statement.

Mr Narayanan, the third hotel employee charged in connection with Michaela's death, is living in dire poverty today -- and cannot find a job because he has been linked to the murder.

He previously gave a statement to police implicating a fourth hotel worker -- Seenarain Mungoo -- who has since been cleared and has returned to his job.

Mr Narayanan said plain-clothes policemen bundled him into a van without identifying themselves and drove him to the Mauritian capital Port Louis, where he was beaten and forced to make a confession.

"They were shouting, they were very angry, all the voices were at the same time. They were asking how the key-card got out of the security room and (asked) 'since you were on patrol near the room, did you hear anything?' They threatened to lock me up if I did not co-operate."

Co-operate

The 26-year-old said that two officers from the Major Crime Investigation Team were driving him to a police station when he was asked to implicate Mr Mungoo.

"Say he was the one who took the key-card and gave it to (prime suspect) Sandip (Moneea)," he claims an officer said.

"The other officer said, 'If you co-operate with the police, you will be released and allowed to go home this morning'.

"I said (to him) I never seen Mungoo giving the card to Sandip, why do you say that?" Mr Narayanan said.

He also said that while in custody on January 20, an officer beat him from be-hind and hit him on the ear.

"I was very afraid and so I agreed to say I saw Mungoo with the key."

Despite his statement, Mr Narayanan said he remained locked up as officers wanted him to change his story -- to say he gave the key to Mr Moneea.

Mr Narayanan was on patrol near room 1025, where Michaela had gone to fetch biscuits to have with her tea.

Police insist that all of the suspects were treated fairly while in custody.

"The decision of who is guilty and who is innocent is made by the court of law, never by the police," said Det Insp Ranjit Jokhoo.

Irish Independent

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