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Saturday 22 July 2017

Michaela detectives focus on getting all suspects to confess

Edel Kennedy and Mayessen Nagapa-Chetty

POLICE investigating the murder of Michaela Harte are "trying their best" to get confessions from the remaining two suspects who have yet to admit to a role in the crime.

The comments were made after five men appeared in court in Mauritius yesterday where they were refused bail. The five hotel employees -- who were charged with either murder or conspiracy to murder -- will be remanded in custody until their next court appearance next Wednesday.

The 27-year-old was on honeymoon on the Indian Ocean island with her husband, John McAreavey, when she was murdered. A daughter of Tyrone GAA manager Mickey Harte, her funeral was held last week in the same church where she had been married 11 days before her brutal killing.

To date three of the suspects have confessed to their part in the crime. But the prime suspect, Sandip Moneea (41), has maintained his innocence. Police believe it was Mr Moneea who strangled Ms Harte.

Speaking outside Mapou District Court, Inspector Ranjit Jokhoo said the police were still in the process of recording statements from the accused. And they were hopeful of confessions from all of them.

Conspiracy

"We want to record as many statements from as many people as possible," he said.

"We are trying our best to get them (confessions) from all of them."

He dismissed reports that DNA results could be available within days, saying he has been told that it could be another two weeks.

One of the men -- security officer Dassen Narrainen -- is due back in court on February 14 for a bail motion. He has admitted giving Mr Moneea a key-card which was used to gain access to the couple's room.

However, he has also admitted that he maliciously implicated another hotel employee, Seenarain Mungoo. Police said they will await the DNA results before deciding whether to withdraw their objection to Mr Mungoo's bail application.

Murder accused Abinash Treebhoowoon will also appear in court on February 8 for a bail motion. Former room attendant Raj Theekoy -- who was charged with conspiracy to murder -- had earlier confessed to police that he heard Ms Harte scream and saw two men leaving her room in a nervous state.

Ms Harte was killed on January 10 after returning to her hotel room to get biscuits for her and her new husband to have after lunch.

Irish Independent

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