Wednesday 11 December 2019

Michaela husband revisits scene of new bride's death for murder trial

Cormac McQuinn in Mauritius

THE husband of slain honeymooner Michaela Harte has returned to the paradise island where his new bride was brutally killed last year.

John McAreavey (27) last night returned to Mauritian soil for the first time since he brought his wife's body back to Ireland in January last year.

The trial of Avinash Treebhowon (29) and Sandip Moonea (41), former employees at the Legends Hotel where the couple were staying last year, is set to be one of the biggest court cases in the small island's history.

The accused both deny murdering the 27-year-old newlywed when she returned to the couple's hotel room to pick up some biscuits and was viciously attacked when she stumbled upon a burglary.

Accompanied by his father Brendan, sister Claire and brother-in-law Mark Harte, they will next week attend the trial of the men accused of murdering Michaela. Michaela's father, football manager Mickey Harte, did not travel for the trial.

Wearing a light grey tracksuit top, blue chequed shirt and chinos, John arrived in Mauritius International Airport from London Gatwick yesterday.

Their aircraft had been delayed for more than four hours on the ground in London due to technical difficulties.

John and his family travelled business class on the 11-hour flight to the remote Indian Ocean island.

The last passengers to disembark from the aircraft, they were ushered to a private area of the airport.

While other passengers were greeted by Mauritian music, dancing and garlands of flowers in the arrivals hall, John and his family are understood to have exited the airport privately, avoiding the assembled Mauritian and Irish media.

Mr McAreavey had travelled to the island from his home at Lawrencetown, Co Down. The couple had bought a house in Co Down but continued to live separately with their respective parents before their marriage.

Following Michaela's death, John could not bring himself to live in the house and it is only in recent months he has found the strength to make the house his home.

Recently, on the anniversary of her death, he spoke about that daily challenges he faces in coming to terms with his grief.

In a statement, he said: "I miss Michaela, I miss her smile, I miss her laugh and her loving touch but more than anything I miss my friend."

He added: "The feeling of loss, disillusionment and despair are as strong today as that chilling day back in January.

"The fact that my wife was stolen from me in such a cruel manner only compounds this misery and still sends shivers down my spine."

Irish Independent

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