Tuesday 24 October 2017

Accused in Harte murder say they were 'coerced' by police

Avinash Treebhoowon: accused of murder.THE findings of a preliminary inquiry into the murder of Michaela Harte, daughter of Tyrone Gaelic football manager Mickey Harte, in Mauritius will be delivered on Monday.

The two hotel workers accused of her murder, Avinash Treebhoowon (30) and Sandip Mooneea (41), both reiterated their innocence yesterday as a magistrate closed the hearing at a court in Mapou.

Mr Treebhoonwon said he was "coerced and tortured" by the major crime investigation team to give a statement during the course of the police investigation.

Meanwhile, Mr Mooneea told the court he was "a victim of false allegations" and claimed "some people planned to make up this lie and trapped me in that murder case".

Michaela (27) was on honeymoon with her husband, John McAreavey, when she was found murdered in her room at the Legends Hotel last January.

The inquiry heard from a number of witnesses yesterday, among them was chief police medical officer Dr Sudesh Kumar Gungadin, who gave the estimated time of her death as 4pm on January 10.

The police doctor added that a number of samples, including nail clippings and mouth swabs, were taken from her body and sent to the forensic science laboratory for DNA identification.

During questioning by Mr Mooneea's defence counsel, Dr Gungadin said that four days after the murder he examined the two accused men and neither had signs of injury on their body. He also confirmed that no medical tests were run on the victim's husband.

Meanwhile, a separate court hearing was held in Port Louis. The state prosecutor was appealing a decision made by the district court last month to grant Mr Mooneea bail and argued he posed a risk of absconding and tampering with evidence.

Irish Independent

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