Thursday 18 January 2018

Michaela murder trial: Defence criticises John and claims real culprit out there

David Young

POLICE should reopen the investigation into the murder of honeymooner Michaela McAreavey in Mauritius so the real culprit can be found, a lawyer for one of two men accused of the crime has told their trial.

During his closing statement, Sanjeev Teeluckdharry also criticised the evidence the Co Tyrone teacher's widower John had given to court, claiming he was evasive on the stand and his testimony contained "disturbing elements".

The lawyer, representing hotel worker Avinash Treebhoowoon, was heavily critical of the police probe as he addressed jurors at the high-profile case in the Supreme Court in Port Louis.

"Ladies and gentlemen, the image of our country internationally cannot be mended by condemning two innocent men to hell for 60 years whilst the real culprit is still at large," he said.

Treebhoowoon, 32, from Plaine de Roches, and Sandip Moneea, 43, from Petit Raffray, deny murdering the daughter of Tyrone gaelic football boss Mickey Harte in the luxury Legends hotel on the island.

Both defendants worked at the exclusive beachside resort at the time of the murder last January.

The prosecution claims they attacked the 27-year-old newlywed when she interrupted them stealing in her room.

Treebhoowoon signed a confession statement three days after Mrs McAreavey died but has since insisted the admission was extracted by police brutality.

Mr McAreavey and other family members were not present in court as Mr Teeluckdharry began his closing speech.

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