Monday 25 September 2017

Where is the bellboy? And what did he see?

Colm Kelpie

Colm Kelpie

A KEY witness in the Michaela McAreavey murder trial was unable to give evidence because he had left the country and police could not trace him.

The fact that the former Legends Hotel bellboy Rajiv Bhujun's whereabouts were not pinned down by the members of the Mauritian Police's Major Crimes Investigation Team (MCIT) in advance of the trial casts further doubt on the quality of the investigation.

Mr Bhujun, along with John McAreavey, was among the first people to reach the room where Mrs McAreavey was murdered.

He was therefore a critical witness for both the defence and prosecution.

Mrs McAreavey was having lunch with her husband in the restaurant of the Legends Hotel on the day she was killed, and left to return to her room to fetch biscuits.

Mr McAreavey waited 15 minutes for her return, before leaving to go back to the couple's room.

He knocked on the door, and received no answer. As he didn't have a key card with him, he returned to the hotel reception where Mr Bhujun was sent with him to gain access to the bedroom.

The pair walked to the room, Mr Bhujun opened the door, and Mr McAreavey entered alone.

Mr Bhujun -- known as witness 28 -- reportedly told police that while he did not enter the McAreavey's bedroom, he heard a scream from Mr McAreavey and rushed in to see Mrs McAreavey lifeless in the bath.

During the course of the trial, prosecution barrister Mehdi Manrakhan told the court in Port Louis that it was his understanding that the former bellboy had left employment at the hotel, left the country and was working on a cruise ship.

Defence lawyer Sanjeev Teeluckdharry demanded Mr Bhujun's previous statements to police in relation to the case be entered as evidence because, as he put it, he was the "first independent witness" to reach the crime scene the day Michaela died.

But the prosecution objected to the motion, saying that such evidence would be "hearsay".

The statement wasn't admitted.

Irish Independent

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