Michaela’s family to sue paper over photos of her dead body
THE family of Michaela McAreavey are suing the Mauritian newspaper that printed photographs of her body for damages of €627,000.
The 27-year-old Co Tyrone teacher, who was the only daughter of Tyrone manager Mickey Harte, was strangled in her room in the luxury Legends hotel in Mauritius last January.
In the wake of a high-profile murder trail, which saw two former hotel workers acquitted of the crime, the Mauritian Sunday Times printed police crime scene photos that showed the newlywed's body lying in the room.
The family has now launched a civil action against the paper's publisher and editor for damages, claiming the publication outraged Mrs McAreavey's dignity and compromised the police investigation into the crime.
Her husband John is seeking about €377,000 in damages while Michaela's parents, Mickey and Marian, and brothers Mark, Michael and Matthew want about €50,000 each.
The paper has no connection to the UK and Ireland Sunday Times.
However, the newspaper editor, Imran Hosany, who published images of Michaela’s body will “fight” impending legal action from the murdered woman’s family.
Mr Hosany has said that while he has yet to receive a formal complaint “of course when I do I will fight it”.
Asked if he is concerned about being brought to court, he replied: “No, no, I'm not concerned. I'm not worried. As I said, I already apologised for publishing the photographs.
“This issue is now in the hands of my lawyer.”
The McAreaveys’ lawyer, Dick Ng Sui Wa, said legal papers have been lodged with the Supreme Court in Mauritius and a date for the first court appearance has been set for January 10.
He said any damages would be donated to a charity foundation set up in memory of the Ballygawley woman.
"The purpose of the claim is to benefit the foundation," he said.
After the publication in July, the editor of the paper charged by Mauritian police with outraging public and religious morality. He denies the charges.
The latest legal development comes after the relatives launched a civil case against the hotel where Mrs McAreavey died for damages that could top €1m.
The hotel has since been renamed Lux.
The basis for that case will be the claim that the hotel failed to provide a safe place for Mrs McAreavey to stay.