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Sunday 24 September 2017

Staff face DNA tests in Michaela probe

Michaela McAreavey
Michaela McAreavey

Deborah McAleese

DNA testing of hotel workers at the luxury resort where Michaela McAreavey was murdered is to begin today as police in Mauritius begin a new investigation.

Former staff members at the Legends Hotel will also be required to submit DNA samples in the coming weeks.

The new probe was launched following severe criticism of the authorities after two men accused of murdering the schoolteacher were acquitted following an eight-week trial.

Unidentified DNA was previously found on a number of items in the room where Michaela (27) was killed.

Several people have been questioned by police over the past few days as detectives attempt to gather new evidence.

The process of DNA-testing hotel staff members begins today. Employees who are still working at the hotel will be tested first.

Those who have left the hotel since Michaela's death are to be visited by officers over the next few weeks and asked to submit DNA samples.

Officers from the PSNI and an Garda Siochana have not been involved in the new probe to date -- despite comments from the prime minister of Mauritius last week that he would welcome their assistance with the investigation.

Samples

It is understood that neither force has so far received a formal request for assistance.

"We have not received any official request to get involved. We do not have any role in this investigation at the moment," a PSNI source said.

The team of detectives from the Mauritian police force believe that the tests could uncover the person, or people, whose DNA was discovered on a number of items in the McAreaveys' hotel room.

However, even if there is a match, the evidence may not be admissible as police from the original investigation contaminated the crime scene by not wearing protective gear.

Police are also trying to determine who left a footprint on the bed in the room.

No tests were carried out on the footprint during the original investigation.

Michaela's body was discovered in the bathtub by her new husband John after she had failed to return to the restaurant where they had been having lunch on January 10, 2011.

She had gone back to their room to get a biscuit to have with a cup of tea.

Hotel employees Sandip Moneea and Avinash Treebhoowoon were charged with murder, but they were cleared earlier this month by a jury in the criminal court of Mauritius.

Irish Independent

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