Monday 23 April 2018

Grief-stricken husband brings his beloved bride back home

Rings a poignant reminder of broken dreams

His face etched with grief and with Michaela's precious wedding rings on a chain around his neck, a devastated John McAreavey yesterday began the heartbreaking task of bringing her body home from Mauritius
His face etched with grief and with Michaela's precious wedding rings on a chain around his neck, a devastated John McAreavey yesterday began the heartbreaking task of bringing her body home from Mauritius
Michaela Harte's remains leave the mortuary at Victoria Hospital in a pink-shrouded coffin yesterday en route to the airport
A police officer and his notebook during the reconstruction of the crime at the Legends Hotel
Michaela's brother Mark Harte helps her husband John as the family make their way to the airport to come home
John McAreavey and Michaela Harte at a recent social event in Tullylish GAA Club, Co Down

Edel Kennedy in Mauritius

TWO rings, one promise. The promise was to have and to hold, till death do they part.

But death came too quickly for Michaela Harte, who was murdered while on honeymoon on the Indian Ocean island of Mauritius.

Yesterday her grief-stricken husband John McAreavey travelled to the morgue in the town of Quatres Bornes to say goodbye and bring her home.

Outside the morgue he kept his head bowed, her two rings on a delicate gold chain visible around his neck.

Mr McAreavey was accompanied to the morgue by his father, his brother Brian, Michaela's brother Mark, Sinn Fein MLA Barry McElduff, and Consul for the Irish Embassy, Pat McRann.

A short Mass was said for the 27 year old and her body was then brought to the airport so that it could be brought home to Ireland last night.

Police in Mauritius confirmed that two of the accused had confessed to their parts in the horrific crime.

Abinash Treebhoowoon (29) and Raj Theekoy (33) gave statements to the investigating officers yesterday afternoon and gave details of what had happened on Monday during the botched robbery.

Mr Treebhoowoon was charged with Michaela's murder earlier this week while Mr Theekoy was charged with conspiracy to murder.

After the court appearance on Wednesday Mr Theekoy told police that he had heard Michaela scream and had seen two men leave the room, one of whom was sweating.

After giving the police the details they confronted Mr Treebhoowoon, who confessed to his part in killing the newlywed. As a result, yesterday evening the two men were brought to Legends Hotel, the scene of the crime, to take part in a reconstruction.

An independent witness -- who is not a suspect -- was also present.

He corroborated what he had seen of the two men that day.

They were at the seaside resort with a large number of police officers while at the same time John McAreavey was making final preparations to leave the hotel for the airport and bring his wife's body home.

Michaela's remains had been in the morgue since her death, and shortly before 11am yesterday Manique's undertaker arrived with a simple wooden coffin.

It was carried into the morgue where a short Mass was held when John arrived with family members.

They left shortly before midday and returned to Legends Hotel.

Covered in a pink sleeve, her coffin was removed from the morgue at Victoria Hospital (also known as Princess Margaret Hospital) at 12.05pm and was brought to Sir Seewoosagar Ramgoolam airport where paperwork was completed in order to send her body home.

It is understood that the family will bring her home today via London Heathrow on flight number MK230, which departed Mauritius at 10pm local time last night. (6pm Irish time).

Police have said that although they have not yet obtained a confession from the third suspect -- Sandip Moneea (41) -- they are satisfied that they have enough evidence to convict him.

Ranjit Jokoo, investigating officer with the Major Criminal Investigation Team (MCIT), said they have not yet interrogated him properly.

"It's not an issue to us whether he confesses or not," he added.

He said that circumstantial evidence carries great weight in the Mauritian courts, and they are confident they will secure a conviction against the three men.

Speaking at an earlier press conference Police Commissioner Dhun Ishwar Ramparsad said that both Treebhoowoon and Moneea were the two people who were in possession of the electronic keys.

He also gave details of how Mr Moneea had strangled Michaela and the duo put her body in the bath afterwards.

They had turned on the water and she was found there by her husband.

Mr Moneea's wife also spoke of her belief that her husband is innocent. The couple had been married just 37 days when he allegedly killed Michaela.

She said that she believes that the police have the "wrong person" and that her husband showed no signs of distress when he returned home from work on Monday.

The three men are due back in court next Wednesday for a procedural hearing while a bail application will be made in early February.

Ravi Rutnah, barrister for Mr Treebhoowoon, said that his client had apologised to the McAreavey and Harte families in his formal statement.

He expects the case to take around 18 months to come to court. If convicted of murder, the men will be given life sentences.

Irish Independent

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