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Monday 22 January 2018

Heated rows erupt over 'personal items'

Cormac McQuinn

Cormac McQuinn

HEATED rows erupted in the Mauritian Supreme Court after the husband of slain honeymooner Michaela McAreavey was asked about personal belongings that a defence lawyer described as "extremely suspicious".

John McAreavey was forced to listen as Sanjeev Teeluckdharry listed items including "a laptop connector, a dirty belt, sedative pills and tubes of vaginal jelly" and put it to the witness: "This is extremely suspicious Mr McAreavey."

The widower never got a chance to respond as prosecution barrister Mehdi Manrakahan jumped in shouting "objection, my lord". Judge Prtiviraj Fecknah upheld the objection.

It wasn't the only clash between Mr McAreavey and defence lawyers in nearly two hours of cross-examination.

Mr Teeluckdharry questioned him about his claim to have met his client, hotel cleaner Avinash Treebhoowoon, twice on the day of Michaela's death.

Mr McAreavey had earlier said that he met Mr Treebhoowoon outside room 1025 and the accused man asked him twice if he would like the room cleaned, which he said "I thought was a bit strange". Mr Teeluckdharry said that Mr Treebhoowoon told him he had only met Mr McAreavey only once that day, to which Mr McAreavey said: "No. That's not true."

Matters became deeply personal again when Mr Teeluckdharry asked Mr McAreavey about how Michaela had sent him a text message while he was on the hotel golf course that morning to ask if he would buy her some tampons as her period had started.

Mr Teeluckdharry asked: "Would you be surprised that the police did not find any box of tampons in room 1025?"

"No, not really," John said. Judge Fecknah said that it had "crossed his mind" that the police had not fully listed the items found in the room.

The other defence lawyer, Rama Valayden, asked Mr McAreavey about his use of his hotel room magnetic key card.

John said the night before Michaela's death the pair had been having dinner in the hotel restaurant, after which he returned to the room to get some biscuits for her.

Mr Valayden said the hotel's computer records showed just one recorded use of the key card that evening, presumably when the couple returned to the room. Mr McAreavey said there must have been a problem with the hotel's system, adding: "I definitely returned to the room."

Irish Independent

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