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Prayers for Michaela, but her family are no closer to truth

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The late Michaela McAreavey, pictured with her husband John.

The late Michaela McAreavey, pictured with her husband John.

The late Michaela McAreavey, pictured with her husband John.

PRAYERS will be said for Michaela McAreavey in the country graveyard in which she was laid to rest this weekend, but her family are no nearer to the truth behind her murder four years on.

The Harte family will have a private service at St Malachy's Church in Ballymacilroy in Co Tyrone.

They have remained dignified throughout four years of pain, helped by their religious faith.

Michaela's father, Mickey Harte, the Tyrone football manager, has poured his energies into the foundation set up in her name - with summer camps increasing year after year throughout the island.

However, on another island half a world away, police hunting Michaela's killers say there has been no new breakthrough, despite hopes being raised just a few months ago.

Widower John McAreavey and the Harte family were told last September that a new investigation into three new suspects was under way.

"There have been no new developments in this case," said a spokesman for Mauritius police in the capital Port Louis.

"We are not planning any specific appeal or comment at this time," he added.

Michaela was found murdered in the suite of the Legends Hotel on January 10, 2011, after returning on her own to her room to get biscuits to share with John over a cup of tea.

Devastated John found her body in the bath tub.

In July 2012, hotel staff Sandip Moneea and Avinash Treebhoowoon were cleared after a lengthy trial of any involvement in the killing.

Four years after the murder, the Harte and McAreavey families said they did not want to comment at this time.

But there is a growing belief that the killers will never be caught and the announcement of new suspects last September was a response to the growing frustration of the family.

That frustration was aired - in a rare public comment - by Mickey Harte and his family last July, two years after the acquittals of Mr Moneea and Mr Treebhoowoon.

"They are growing increasingly frustrated by the slow progress of the criminal proceedings," said a family spokesman.

They also said they were "disappointed by the reluctance of the Mauritian authorities to keep them updated with developments".

Mauritian Prime Minister Navin Ramgoolam had previously stated that justice would be done in the case.

However, the family have said that "as time marches on and the criminal proceedings seem to have ground to a halt, this promise is ringing hollow".

When police did announce there were four new suspects last autumn, the family acknowledged the statement. Mauritius police sources were quoted as saying a new trial could begin within days. The new investigation had, apparently, focused on a dummy electronic card found in Michaela and John's room.

Crucial

"This is the card used to secretly swipe the actual key to the suite, and detectives believe it is a crucial piece of evidence that will lead them to the killer," said one source at the time.

But no arrests have been made, with one legal source in Port Louis telling the Irish Independent: "Political pressure was put on the police to solve the case but it is becoming increasingly unlikely that anyone will ever be charged and found guilty of this murder.

"There are a lot of people here who just want it all to go away so it doesn't affect the business (tourism)."

The Legends Hotel where Michaela died has changed its name and has received top reviews by online ratings websites.

John has found love again with girlfriend Tara Brennan. But he remains in constant contact with the PSNI, trying to keep pressure on the Mauritian police to find his wife's killer.

Irish Independent