Thursday 14 December 2017

Michaela murder: ‘Grotesque’ theories an insult to memory of John McAreavey, says prosecutor

GROTESQUE theories that pointed the finger at the widower of Michaela McAreavey during the trial of the men accused of her murder were an insult to her memory, a prosecutor said.

Mehdi Manrakhan, who insisted there should be no politics in pursuit of the truth, said the notions canvassed by defence lawyers about John McAreavey were short-lived and quickly abandoned after it was clear they were unfounded.

But during his closing submissions, the principal state counsel expressed concern the "unbefitting" episodes in the seven-week trial had served to confuse the minds of the jurors.

He added: "If anything, they were very insulting to John and his family and to the memory of Michaela.

"The person who suffered the most in all this, as if he had not suffered enough after the death of the love of his life, Michaela, was undoubtedly John James McAreavey."

Through the trial lawyers for accused Sandip Moneea and Avinash Treebhoowoon made a number of insinuations in court.

A police officer was asked about the sexual act erotic asphyxiation while there were also questions about the possible use of a belt found among the McAreaveys' possessions.

Mr Manrakhan referred to both theories and also an attempt to claim that a couple seen rowing on grainy CCTV footage at the reception of Legends Hotel the day of the murder were the McAreaveys when police insisted they had proof the man and woman were actually two German holiday makers.

"All the above theories were, fortunately for John and his family, short-lived and quickly abandoned one after the other," added the prosecutor.

"But it is very unfortunate that we had to come to this as it should have been clear to one and all that these theories would never have reached very far and could only have been a source of confusion in the mind of the jury."

As an emotional Mr McAreavey bowed his head in the public gallery, Mr Manrakhan praised him for the way he had travelled back to the island to give evidence.

"He came all the way from Northern Ireland with his family to seek justice for the wrongful murder of his beloved wife," the prosecutor told the court.

"He gave evidence before you in a straightforward and poignant manner. He told us about the love of his life, Michaela, how they met, what a fairytale wedding they had, how they had bought a house together and were looking forward to move in there after their honeymoon.

"John also told us, members of the jury, that his life ended when her life ended.

"Members of the jury, there are no politics to truth.

"There are no politics to truth - there is right and there is wrong.

"I have no doubt whatsoever that when you consider the evidence, objectively and dispassionately, that you will reach the right decision that the two accused are guilty as charged."

Press Association

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