Michaela Harte tragedy has 'united the community in grief'
Memories of the murdered honeymooner Michaela Harte have united people in grief, the North's First Minister Peter Robinson has said.
The DUP leader addressed representatives at Stormont as the legislature reconvened after its Christmas break and said the tragic death of the 27-year-old had captured public attention.
Mr Robinson said the young teacher had been a valued relative and friend to those who shared her life, but that their warm tributes meant many more people now felt they knew her.
He said: "This isn't a time to talk about the circumstances of her tragic death, but we do want to see justice done, and we support those in Mauritius who are engaged in that task.
"Any life taken away by murder is a horrific event, all the more so when it is of a young person.
"The loss is even more harrowing and devastating because the victim in this case was a beautiful young woman who was on her honeymoon.
"Michaela was known to a wide circle of family and friends, but this past week I believe we now all feel that we knew her.
"From the stories that we have heard, from seeing her on television, and reading in our newspapers.
"This is one of the rare tragedies that has captured public attention and united the community in grief."
Ulster Unionist representative Danny Kennedy, who said he knew the McAreavey family, extended his sympathies to the young woman's bereaved relatives and those of her husband John.
"It is difficult to comprehend the trauma and grief that they are feeling today," he said.
"For such a young life to end in such circumstances seems at times unreal.
"This tragedy has touched many people across Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland and I would like to pay tribute to the dignified manner in which both the Harte and McAreavey families have conducted themselves in what is an unimaginably difficult time."
Members of all the main political parties in the North have extended their sympathies to the bereaved families.