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Michaela, the most beautiful girl ever, says weeping John


Sandip Mooneea arrives at the Supreme Court. Photo: PA

Sandip Mooneea arrives at the Supreme Court. Photo: PA

Avinash Treebhoowon

Avinash Treebhoowon


WIDOWER John McAreavey broke down in court today as he described the moment he found his new bride strangled in their hotel room in Mauritius.

He also revealed that police handcuffed and left him alone in a room for more than five hours in the wake of his wife Michaela's murder, with one officer telling him: "What are you crying about? You're young, you'll get another wife."

The accountant, from Co Down, Northern Ireland, said his life ended when his "wonderful, wonderful" wife died on their honeymoon.

Giving evidence at the trial of the two hotel workers accused of murdering the 27-year-old teacher, Mr McAreavey said he fell to his knees and prayed after trying desperately to revive her.

"Michaela was cold," he said, his voice halting.

"And her lips were blue and I kept on just saying 'Michaela, Michaela, wake up, come on, come on'.

"Then I could see this mark on her neck. I didn't know what was going on, I didn't know what was going on. I was grabbing her and trying to press on her chest and trying to attempt CPR. I don't even know CPR.

"I was just holding her in my arms, telling her to come on, just to wake up."

Mr McAreavey is appearing as a prosecution witness in the high-profile case at the Supreme Court in the island's capital, Port Louis.

The daughter of Tyrone Gaelic football boss Mickey Harte was found strangled in her room at the luxury Legends Hotel last January, just two weeks after her wedding in Northern Ireland.

The prosecution claim hotel employees Sandip Moneea and Avinash Treebhoowoon murdered Mrs McAreavey when she returned to the room at the exclusive beachside complex and caught them stealing.

Wearing a grey suit and white shirt in court today, Mr McAreavey revealed how he was treated by police following his wife's death.

He said four officers drove him away from the hotel in a jeep.

"Further up the road they pulled in at the side of road and a couple of the policemen got out and they went to side of road to a fast food thing and they got themselves something to eat," he said.

He said he was then taken to a derelict-looking building where he was put in a room and officers took off his shirt and examined him for marks.

"I could see what was going through their minds," he said.

"They put handcuffs on me and I was sat down on a bench."

Mr McAreavey said he was then left alone.

"It was for at least five hours, I'm sure, more - actually it was late into the night."

He said he was eventually released after making a statement and returned to the hotel where a nurse cared for him through the night.

Mr McAreavey flew back to Mauritius ahead of the start of the trial last month but had been unable to be present at proceedings until he was called as a witness.

His sister Claire, father Brendan, and brother-in-law Mark Harte sat in the front row of the public gallery, watching his emotional testimony.

Dozens stood in the aisles of the public gallery of Courtroom 5 to watch him give evidence.

Despite efforts to manage Mr McAreavey's arrival at court better than the first day of the trial, when he was jostled by crowds, there was again some unruly behaviour as local press photographers tried to break out of a security cordon.

Former Legends room attendant Treebhoowoon, 31, from Plaine des Roches, and floor supervisor Moneea, 42, from Petit Raffray, deny murdering Irish language and religious education teacher Mrs McAreavey, from Ballygawley, Co Tyrone.

As he began giving evidence, Mr McAreavey described his wife and produced pictures of her that were passed to the jury.

"Michaela was a wonderful, wonderful person, a really special human," he said.

"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 had so many special qualities that it would be impossible for me to fully explain how a good a person she was."

Mr McAreavey said his wife was "full of life and full of happiness".

"Anyone who had the pleasure of knowing her or meeting Michaela would give testament to that.

"I do not have the words to fully explain how much she means to me and how much she still means to me and her family."

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