| 17.6°C Dublin

First signs of frustration from family as tension in court grows

AFTER six testing days in court it was the first marked sign of frustration from Michaela McAreavey's loved ones.

Claire McAreavey, her sister-in-law, had sat stoically through hour upon hour of often harrowing evidence despite regular interruptions from the packed rows of the public gallery behind her.

The most jarring have been the laughs that greet the often theatrical wrangles between defence and prosecution counsel. As another ripple of levity broke out yesterday afternoon, it appeared Ms McAreavey decided enough was enough.

"Be quiet please," she implored, turning round to confront the main offenders.

They duly fell silent.

Her father Brendan joined her in courtroom five of the Supreme Court in Port Louis, Mauritius, this week, taking the place filled by Michaela's brother Mark Harte in the first four days of proceedings.


Michaela's widower John is elsewhere on the island, unable to attend until he is called as a prosecution witness.

The latest outburst in the public gallery came as defence lawyer Ravi Rutnah challenged a Mauritian forensic scientist on one of her answers.

Principal state counsel Mehdi Manrakhan objected, insisting that his counterpart could not argue with an expert's opinion.

"I'm not arguing," Mr Rutnah fired back. "I'm asking a question of a scientific nature."

The now-familiar testy exchanges from the bar prompted the giggles to which Ms McAreavey reacted.

Inspector Sunilduth Nucc-hedy certainly was not providing opportunity for a comic response.

While some of his police colleagues faltered in the witness box, the officer, one of the first on the murder scene, appeared wholly at ease as the questions rained down on him.

Irish Independent