Monday 23 October 2017

Court hears husband John described as suspect in police logs

Raj Theekoy, room attendant at the Legends Hotel, and witness for the Prosecution. Photo: PA
Raj Theekoy, room attendant at the Legends Hotel, and witness for the Prosecution. Photo: PA
Trial judge Prithviraj Fecknah
Mauritian policeman Hans Rowin Seevathian, who gave evidence yesterday, outside court
Susan Woodroffe (far left), a forensic scientist from Cellmark Forensic Services in the UK, who gave evidence yesterday

David Young in Port Louis, Mauritius

THE HUSBAND of murdered honeymooner Michaela McAreavey was described as a suspect in police logs in the hours after she was found dead, a court in Mauritius has heard.

But a senior police officer involved in the investigation told the trial of two hotel workers accused of strangling the Co Tyrone teacher that he did not know why the term was used in official records for John McAreavey.

Inspector Sunilduth Nucchedy insisted he had not identified any suspects at that time.

"I can't say why the word suspect has been mentioned in the diary book," he told the jury.

The log entries read to court by a lawyer of one of the accused revealed that a police sentry had been placed outside the room Mr McAreavey stayed in the night after his wife died.

Mr Nucchedy said the officer was put outside the room to fulfil victim support duties.

Avinash Treebhoowoon, 30, and Sandip Moonea, 42, deny strangling the daughter of Tyrone Gaelic football boss Mickey Harte at the island's luxury Legends Hotel last January.

Earlier, the trial heard that another Legends employee who alleges he saw the defendants leave the crime scene did not inform police about his claims originally.

Raj Theekoy, a one-time suspect in the case, made a signed statement to investigating officers the day after Mrs McAreavey was found strangled.

"I did not kill the lady," he said. "I don't know how she was killed.

"I don't know anything about the lady."

Mr Theekoy provided no further details about the murder at that time.

He is now a witness against fellow Legends employee Treebhoowoon and Moneea.

Mr Theekoy was originally charged with conspiracy to murder but the case was dropped.

The trial of the two defendants in Port Louis has already been told that the hotel cleaner claims he heard female cries from the room where Mrs McAreavey, 27, was killed and shortly afterwards saw Treebhoowoon and Moneea coming out of the door.

But he provided none of those details when he was interviewed on January 11 last year.

The contents of his statement then were read to court today by one of the police officers present at the interview, Constable Hans Rouwin Seevathian.

The honeymooner's father-in-law, Brendan McAreavey, and sister-in-law, Claire McAreavey, watched from the public gallery of the criminal court.

Her widower has returned to the island but is unable to attend court proceedings until he gives evidence as a prosecution witness.

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