Saturday 16 December 2017

Family by his side as John tries to pick up the pieces

John McAreavey
John McAreavey

Mark Hilliard

JOHN McAreavey returns to his hometown this weekend to face the arduous task of rebuilding his life without his wife Michaela.

He has been in limbo during the 18 months between her violent death and the marathon trial that ended this week in Mauritius.

John would have been hoping to have returned to Lawrencetown, Co Down, with answers as to how his wife died.

But now he is expected to turn to his family and the local community to comfort him through his grief.

Michaela and John had bought a house together in the Rose Hill estate in Lawrencetown, and dreamed of turning that house into a home.

The two-storey home, nestled among the newly built houses in the small country town, is a sad reminder of the kind of life that was ripped from the couple before they ever even got started.

They never got to spend a night together there, but neighbours say that John has recently begun staying at the house on his own.

It is just a stone's throw from his workplace and beloved GAA club and he is rarely without a friend or family member at his side.

"I would see him every day coming in and out; he plays in the local club so you see him all the time," said one neighbour, Shane, who lives across the road.

Speaking about this week's verdict, he added: " I think the general feeling is one of dismay (but) he will be well insulated (by his community)."

Kieran McCambridge (31), who has been living across the road for three years, said those in the area were full of sympathy for John.


"I know he is very close to his family; you see them over at the house a lot. I'm getting married in eight months, I can't imagine what it would be like going from your happiest day to your worst."

It is unclear whether John plans to remain in the house he should have shared with his new bride, but it appears life will go on for him in the Co Down community.

He has always been heavily involved in his local Tullylish GAA club, the sport being one of the biggest bonds in his relationship with Michaela, and will continue to be so.

The qualified accountant is also likely to return to his family firm, Clearhill Retail Entertainment, in nearby Banbridge. He works there as its financial controller, alongside his father Brendan and brother Brian.

Those who know the McAreaveys will say that while John has endured the most horrendous loss, he will be surrounded by uncompromising support.

"I work with his auntie and I think it is a very, very bad thing for him," another neighbour said.

"I would like it to be over and to see him move on with his own life. Everyone will support him."

Irish Independent

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