Sunday 18 February 2018

An idyllic setting that is forever soiled by this senseless crime

David Young

THERE is no Room 1025 at the Legends Hotel any more. The four walls still stand, but the number has changed.

The bath where Michaela McAreavey was found dead is no longer inside; the bed she shared with her husband John for two nights has also been replaced. Even the hotel has a new name -- Lux.

But memories of the day the Co Tyrone honeymooner was murdered inside the luxury gated resort are harder to erase.

The complex is located in the far north of Mauritius, more than an hour-and-a-half's drive from the international airport.

John and Michaela McAreavey made the trip on Saturday, January 8, 2011, two days before the murder.

The reception area is still monitored by the security camera that became such a key issue during the trial.

On the Sunday of their stay, the McAreaveys attended a briefing on what activities they could indulge in on their planned seven-day stay.

The white sand beach that greets visitors emerging from the wooden-beamed high ceilings of the reception is the base for many of them.

The Banyon restaurant is at the other end of the complex, almost in a mini resort of its own.

The walk weaves through numerous two-storey accommodation blocks. The last one before the Banyon is a deluxe building, where the room once numbered 1025 is housed.

It is about 100 to 150 metres from the poolside cafe where John and Michaela lunched on chicken curry -- a one- to two-minute walk at most.

Jurors retraced that journey when they spent a morning at the hotel to gain a sense of the locations discussed in court.

The Banyon is more like a picnic area than a restaurant, tucked away among twisted tree trunks.

Beyond the pool the ground falls away to a beach, smaller and noticeably quieter than the main waterfront.

The sliding double doors of room 1025 were just a stone's throw from the water's edge.

The view is idyllic and it was one of the last the McAreaveys shared together before Michaela left to walk back to room 1025 to get a dark chocolate Kit Kat to enjoy with her tea.

She would never return.

Irish Independent

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