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Friday 20 April 2018

John McAreavey set to describe worst day of his life

Cormac McQuinn

Cormac McQuinn

THE husband of slain honeymooner Michaela McAreavey will today give his account of the last moments he spent with his tragic bride.

In what is expected to be the most dramatic day yet of the murder trial in the Mauritian Supreme Court, John McAreavey will enter the witness box and sit just a few feet away from the two men accused of murdering his wife.

He is expected to describe finding her lifeless body in the bathtub of their hotel room, his cries for help and his attempts to revive her.

Now in its third week, the trial has produced shocking testimony, including details of Michaela's violent death and allegations of police brutality.

Lawyers have pried into deeply personal aspects of the newlyweds' sex life.

The trial has frequently descended into farce, with theatrical performances by lawyers, which would be more suited to a stand-up comedy show than to the trial of the men accused of Michaela's brutal murder.

Former hotel workers Avinash Treebhoowoon and Sandip Moneea have both pleaded not guilty to killing her. Mr Treebhoowoon has claimed that his confession was extracted by police after he was brutalised.

Michaela's family faced a torrid time in court at the end of week one when they were forced to listen to defence lawyer Sanjeev Teeluckdharry intrude into the couple's private life.

He asked a police witness about a supposed 'sex book' that he had returned to Mr McAreavey, along with other personal items, then speculated about its contents and asked about "violent lovemaking".

Despite strong objections, Mr Teeluckdharry persisted, saying that he was coming to the "crux" of the defence case.

However, the family later clarified that the alleged 'sex book' was nothing more than a supplement that had come free with 'Cosmopolitan' magazine.

Confession

Following that particularly brutal day in court, Michaela's family issued a plea that the public pray for John, so that he would have "the strength to get through the very difficult and painful days ahead".

Week two began with a British DNA expert explaining how she found no DNA from either Mr Treebhoowoon or Mr Moneea on items sent to her by the Mauritian police for testing.

One of the island's most senior police officers, chief inspector Luciano Gerard, was grilled for three days in the witness box.

Allegations that he made about the conduct of one defence lawyer, Ravi Rutnah, led the barrister to quit the case, saying the policeman had attacked his "professional integrity".

The lawyer's penchant for inappropriate wisecracks surfaced when he quipped: "I will be back in Arnold Schwarzenegger style", as he left the courtroom. He will be called as a witness later.

Meanwhile, CI Gerard smiled in the witness box as details of his alleged torture of Mr Treebhoowoon were read out in court and he was accused of fabricating the accused man's confession.

He coolly said the allegations were "totally false and unfounded".

So far this week, the trial has been dominated by the testimony of the prosecution's 'star witness' Raj Theekoy, who claims that he heard a woman screaming shortly before seeing the two defendants walking from the direction of Michaela's room.

Irish Independent

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