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Sunday 24 September 2017

John was never a suspect, Michaela trial told

Mayessen Nagapa in Mauritius

John McAreavey was never a suspect in the eyes of Mauritian police investigating the murder of his wife, Michaela Harte, while on honeymoon, a court has heard.

Inspector Ranjit Jokhoo said he did not record any statement from Mr McAreavey as he gave evidence at Mapou District Court in Mauritius.

"For me when I entered the scene of the crime, he was not a suspect. I do not know if it was the same for other officers," said Insp Jokhoo.

When questioned by Navin Bhoyrul, representing murder co-accused Sandip Mooneea, Insp Jokhoo said as the investigation unfolded on January 10, the day on which Ms Harte was killed, "it became clear that Mr McAreavey was not a suspect".

"The police inquiry continued and eventually my belief was confirmed by the investigation," he said.

The defence completed their cross-examination of Insp Jokhoo during yesterday's court session.

Earlier, the defence counsel contested a statement taken by a police sergeant on January 13. It was recorded that one of the murder suspects, Avinash Treebhoowon, told his father: "Forget your son now. I have made a mistake."

Wrong

The statement was inserted in a police diary by Sergeant Rashid Bhagaloo. Defence counsel Sanjeev Teeluckdharry told magistrate Sheila Bonomally that his client gave a different statement, which was not properly recorded.

He said it should have read: "Do not forget your son. I have made a mistake. I have left home, I ask you to forgive me. I want to come back home."

Insp Jokhoo firmly denied that the statement was wrong.

Mr Teeluckdharry told Ms Bonomally that his client left the family home a few weeks prior to his arrest and moved in with his wife following a family dispute.

Mr Mooneea's counsel yesterday questioned the credibility of the prosecution's star witness, Raj Theekoye. The defence counsel also questioned Insp Jokhoo about the criminal records of Mr Theekoye.

"I am not aware of his previous convictions. The case file is already in the possession of the DPP," Mr Jokhoo said.

Ravin Bhujun, the baggage handler who accompanied Mr McAreavey to the room where Ms Harte was found dead, will give evidence on Monday.

Irish Independent

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