Sunday 26 May 2019

'It's destroyed my life' - hotel worker accused of manslaughter of Irish toddler in the Maldives flees the island

Max's parents Tara and Trevor Musgrave (inset)
Max's parents Tara and Trevor Musgrave (inset)
Rachel Farrell

Rachel Farrell

A HOTEL worker accused in the Maldives of the manslaughter of an Irish child has spoken about fleeing the island.

Toddler Max Musgrave, son of Dubliners Tara and Trevor Musgrave, died on October 23 2017 after drowning in a private pool in a luxury resort while on holiday.

Jeanne Manon Moutet (24), a French national who was working as a catering coordinator at the five-star Huvafen Fushi Resort, was charged by Maldivian authorities with the offence of causing "death by negligence" in January 2018.

However, the Frenchwoman fled home in November 2018, and has now spoken about the "shocking" ordeal.

Jeanne Manon Moutet (24). Photo: Maldives Police Service
Jeanne Manon Moutet (24). Photo: Maldives Police Service

Manon said she was working in the restaurant when she was asked by management to babysit three Irish children before the accident occurred in October 2017.

According to French media, Manon was looking after the three children, an eight-year-old girl, a four-year-old and a 23-month-old boy, when the two eldest children became "agitated".

The exact details of what happened next are unclear.

A short time later, the 23-month-old boy was found in a private pool just a few metres from his parents' room.

His parents, who are well-known on Dublin's social scene, have said they were "absolutely devastated" after the tragedy.

According to the police report published by Le Parisien, the family said they would "like claimed against the management of the resort" that their son's death was because of the management's negligence.

Speaking last week, Manon said: "After one week of investigation, I was made to sign papers in Maldivian that I do not understand," she told Le Parisien.

"In reality, these are papers that say that I am accused of being responsible for the death of the boy but I was told that I was only suspected.

Tara Logan and Trevor Musgrave (pictured on their wedding day) Photo credit: John Dardis
Tara Logan and Trevor Musgrave (pictured on their wedding day) Photo credit: John Dardis

"I didn't warn my family right away, I didn't know how to tell them about it."

Negligent homicide is classified as a Class 4 felony in the Maldives, carrying a prison sentence of up to 15 years in prison, French media has reported.

But in August 2018, she asked the judge for a few "holiday" days and headed to the capital city to catch a boat back to France.

She said that she disguised herself as a crew member and arrived at the French island of Mayotte 17 days later.

Now, Manon says she will continue to live her life with "this feeling of fault" and that she "cannot approach a toddler without panicking".

"These events have destroyed my life, but it's amazing to be alive today.

"I will try to move forward, it takes time but I will move on."

Police in the Maldives shared a public appeal for Manon's location in December 2018, but it is believed that it is "unlikely" she will be extradited back there from France.

Speaking last week, Manon said that she had "flashbacks" of the incident between January and August 2018, where she continued to work at the hotel.

"From January to August, I feel like I stopped living. I am physically there but actually beside myself," she said.

"I dream of a thousand scenarios where the accident does not happen. I have no real life."

Max's father Trevor Musgrave, originally from Castleknock, owns a luxury car dealership called Onyx, while his Malahide-born wife Tara previously worked in fashion.

The couple previously lived in the K Club and are since thought to be living in the UK.

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