Thursday 22 February 2018

Michaela trial prosecutor says claims against John 'grotesque'

Cormac McQuinn in Mauritius

THE prosecutor in the trail of two men accused of murdering Michaela McAreavey has attacked defence lawyers for the "grotesque theories" accusing her husband John of involvement in her death.

In his closing address to the jury, barrister Mehdi Manrakhan lambasted his defence opponents for the accusations levelled at John McAreavey, saying that he was "the person who suffered most in all this".

John could be seen sobbing during yesterday's speech in the Supreme Court, when the jury were told about the McAreaveys' "fairytale wedding" that turned into an "unforgettable nightmare" and the horrific details of her brutal murder were outlined once again.

Mr Manrakhan said that former Legends Hotel workers Avinash Treebhoowoon and Sandip Moneea could have "walked away" when Michaela allegedly caught them "red-handed" stealing from the McAreaveys' honeymoon suite.

But instead, the lawyer said, they "possessed a killer instinct" and brutally strangled the young honeymooner so they wouldn't be exposed as thieves.

Also, responding to "relentless criticism" of the police investigation, Mr Manrakhan said that officers should in fact be congratulated for "solving such a heinous murder in record time".

And he told the jury that there was "no doubt whatsoever when considering the evidence dispassionately" that they would "reach the right decision" to find the two accused guilty as charged.

The prosecutor said defence lawyers introduced "several unseemly and grotesque theories" implicating John McAreavey in his wife's murder.

Mr Manrakhan continued: "They include erotic asphyxiation, which at one point had been the 'crux' of the defence case for accused number one (Mr Treebhoowoon)."

He mentioned a belt found in the McAreaveys' room that defence lawyers frequently referred to as a possible murder weapon but said: "This was quickly put to rest by the evidence of Dr (Sunil Kumar) Gungadin, who excluded the use of a ligature in the strangulation".

And he reminded the jury of the "infamous CCTV footage" of an arguing German couple, which he said defence lawyers "wanted you to believe was in fact the McAreavey couple".


He added that the allegations were made to "confuse the minds of the jury", and said that they had been "very insulting to John and his family and the memory of Michaela".

He told the jury Mr Treebhoowoon had confessed to Michaela's murder and implicated co-accused Mr Moneea as well. Mr Manrakhan dismissed the defendant's claims that the confession was taken after he was tortured by police.

And he told the jury: "You are not here to pass judgment on the conduct of the police but to try the two parties on the offence of murder based on the evidence."

The trial continues on Monday with the closing speeches of the two defence lawyers.

Irish Independent

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