Wednesday 17 January 2018

John McAreavey tells of heartbreak at death of his beloved Michaela

'Everything finished that day -- our dreams were destroyed'

John McAreavey arrives at the Supreme Court in Mauritius yesterday to give evidence at the murder trial of his wife
John McAreavey arrives at the Supreme Court in Mauritius yesterday to give evidence at the murder trial of his wife
John McAreavey, husband of Michaela McAreavey, leaves after giving evidence at the supreme court. Photo: PA
John McAreavey arrives at the court in Port Louis yesterday with Mark Harte
A similar room several doors down from where Michaela was killed at the Legends Hotel in Mauritius.
Murdered Michaela McAreavey and her husband John on their wedding day (Irish News/PA)
Murder accused Sandip Moneea and Avinash Treebhoowoon

Cormac McQuinn In Mauritius

THE husband of slain honeymooner Michaela McAreavey has spoken in heartbreaking detail of their final blissful days together before her violent death at a luxury Mauritian resort.

Two weeks into the murder trial of hotel workers Avinash Treebhoowoon and Sandip Moneea, John McAreavey sat just feet from the accused men as he described the couple's honeymoon and his last terrible moments with Michaela.

John began haltingly, describing his wife Michaela as "a wonderful, wonderful person, a really special human", adding: "She completed my whole life.

"She was loved by her parents -- she was their only daughter. She was cherished by her brothers -- their only sister.

"She was full of life, full of fun, full of happiness. Anyone who had the pleasure of knowing her or meeting Michaela would give testament to that.

"She was the most beautiful person I have seen. I've yet to see anyone prettier than Michaela."

At this point, John produced some photographs and showed them to the jury, including pictures of the "wonderful" first week of their honeymoon in Dubai and of the newlyweds about to cut their wedding cake -- less than two weeks before her brutal death.

He said: "It was a magical wedding. It was a traditional Irish Catholic wedding, with lots of family and close friends."

Recalling the day that Michaela was killed, he said: "Everything finished that day, my life, Michaela's life -- our dreams destroyed.

"The dreams of our children... everything in one moment destroyed. But I have a deep faith and the support of family and friends to guide me through this journey."

John explained how the couple chose Mauritius for the honeymoon, saying: "Michaela was always adamant she wanted to see Mauritius.

"She was the one who suggested Legends Hotel. She had read good reviews and it was very popular with Irish honeymooners."

The court also heard how the pair had bought a house together, but John said: "We never spent a single night there. It was very important to us that we wanted to wait until we were married."

He said they arrived at Legends Hotel on January 8, 2011 but it was the events just two days later that John described as the day Michaela's "life was ended -- and my life was ended".

He told the court how the couple met for lunch after he had had a golf lesson and Michaela said she was going to return to their room to collect a "dark chocolate Kit-Kat" to eat with her tea.

He said he had offered to go, as he had the previous night, but said Michaela told him: "No, it's okay, I'll go myself."

John, meanwhile, stayed at the poolside restaurant before checking the room and getting no answer. A bellboy came with him to open the room and John entered alone.

SCREAMING

He told the court: "When I went in, the first thing I saw was Michaela in the bathtub. I could hear the water gushing in the bathtub and Michaela was face up, bobbing in the water."

At first he thought that she had fainted after getting into a hot bath in order to ease the chronic period pains she suffered from.

He grabbed his wife from the bath and said he started "screaming at the top of my voice, screaming for help".

"I was in complete disarray. Michaela was cold and her lips were blue and I kept on saying, 'Michaela! Michaela! Wake up! C'mon, c'mon!' I tried CPR, I don't know CPR but I held her in my arms and kept telling her to wake up."

He said he tore her skirt when he pulled it down to check if she had been sexually assaulted. He continued: "My mind was racing. All kinds of thoughts were going through my head.

"I saw the marks on Michaela's neck and knew something horrible had happened."

The hotel manager Brice Lunot soon arrived and also attempted CPR and John frantically made phone calls home.

Reaching Michaela's father, Tyrone GAA boss Mickey Harte, he said: "I was in hysterics. I couldn't utter the words of what happened."

He said that when he saw Mr Lunot step away from Michaela's body "I knew she was gone. I could barely breathe. I was just all over the place, all over the place."

He begged a doctor, who arrived a short while later, to use a defibrillator on Michaela. The doctor was "looking at me and looking at Michaela and he said, 'What do you want me to do? She's dead.'"

At this point, John recalled: "I collapsed on the bed and I was like a hysterical child grabbing at the bed clothes and lying there, completely distraught.

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