Saturday 22 July 2017

Michaela suspect may avoid charges

Stewart Maclean and Mayessen Nagapa-Chetty

POLICE probing the honeymoon murder of Michaela Harte are considering dropping the charges against one of those accused of being involved in her death.

Seenarain Mungoo (39) was the fifth and final hotel employee to be charged in connection with the murder in Mauritius, but police now say charges against him could be dropped or altered at a later date.

"He has applied for bail and the magistrate is considering the case," said Detective Inspector Ranjit Jokhoo after a bail hearing on the Indian Ocean island yesterday.

"In future we will decide whether to charge him with conspiracy to commit murder, another offence or to let him go."

His lawyer had sought unconditional bail yesterday after telling the court he believed police had no case against him. But the hotel security guard was told the matter would now be postponed until Monday to allow the court further time to consider the evidence.

Mr Mungoo was arrested on January 19 under suspicion of conspiracy to commit murder after being identified as a suspect by his colleague Dassen Narainen (26), who had been held the previous day.

Both men worked as security guards at the luxury Legends Hotel where Ms Harte was found dead on January 10.

They were initially suspected of helping a pair of hotel cleaners suspected of murdering the newlywed by supplying them with a stolen key card used to access her bedroom.

However, in the days after their arrests detectives said the case against Mr Mungoo had been built largely on testimony supplied by Mr Narainen and which he had later withdrawn after admitting he held a grudge against Mr Mungoo.

Despite that revelation, officers said Mr Mungoo would be remanded in custody at least until police received the results of DNA tests.

Revoked

"We believe that although Nr Narainen's claims have been revoked it is still right that he is in custody," police said.

Ms Harte was found dead by her husband, John McAreavey, just three days into the couple's honeymoon on the island. John and Michaela's parents have now announced they are to set up a charity in her memory.

The announcement was made as the families prepared for a special Mass on Friday to mark a month since her death.

Her loved ones said that they hope to establish a charitable trust in her name which they believe could become a force for good.

Irish Independent

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