Saturday 18 November 2017

Worker at scene of Michaela murder not listed as a witness

Eimear Ni Bhraonain in Mauritius

A FORENSIC report places a sacked security worker at the scene of Michaela Harte's murder -- but he is currently not listed as a state witness in the case.

Dassen Narayanen (26), a former hotel employee, has been accused of conspiring to commit a theft at the Legends Hotel on Mauritius on January 10 -- the day of Michaela's murder.

Details of the forensic scientist's report obtained by the Irish Independent show:

•Mr Narayanen's DNA was found on the wardrobe door handle in the bathroom area where Michaela was murdered.

•No DNA belonging to the two men accused of her murder was found on samples taken from the scene.

The Mauritian court is also expected to be told today that defence lawyers are prepared to cover the costs of bringing Michaela's husband John McAreavey over for the preliminary enquiry.

Mr Narayanen, who no longer works at the Legends Hotel, has already admitted to being inside the bedroom of the hotel on the day of the murder after he heard Mr McAreavey calling for help.

Discrepancy

However, he was not supposed to have been in the bathroom area as Michaela's body had already been removed from the bath and she was lying on the bedroom floor.

Despite the discrepancy between where he said he was on the afternoon of the murder and where his DNA actually places him, Mr Narayanen's name is not included on the list of witnesses for the preliminary enquiry.

The Irish Independent has also uncovered further details about Mr Narayanen's whereabouts on January 10.

He was seen by hotel staff changing out of his uniform at Legends and boarding a bus to depart the complex at around 4pm that day, shortly after the murder. His security supervisor asked him to get off the bus and to remain at work as the murder had just taken place and he would need to assist with the enquiry. However, Mr Narayanen told this newspaper in an earlier interview that he wanted to leave because he was "panicked" and the hotel was "busy with police".

The preliminary enquiry did not sit yesterday but it continues today where two men -- Sandip Moneea (41) and Avinash Treebhowon (30) -- will appear, accused of murdering Michaela.

Magistrate Sheila Bonomally is presiding over the inquiry, after which she will decide if there is enough evidence to send the two men forward for trial for murder -- or whether they will be dealt with by a lesser court for manslaughter, or wounds and blows without intention to kill.

Alternatively, the matter can be struck out.

Mr Moneea has insisted he is innocent and he never confessed to the murder.

However, Mr Treebhowon made a confession which his defence claims was made as a result of police brutality.

These allegations have been dismissed by the Major Crime Investigation Team who stated the two hotel employees have always been treated fairly while in custody.

Meanwhile, in the forensic report, the scientist states that she understands from the information she was given from the Office of the Commissioner of Police in Mauritius that Michaela was found in the bath of her hotel room by her husband. He turned off the tap and lifted her onto the floor.

Swabs

She also states that she understands Mr Narayanen has admitted to preparing a 'dummy' card so that it could be used to enter room 1025.

"It is believed that Michaela Harte returned to her room whilst the suspects were in the process of looking for items to steal," the report states.

Swabs were taken from Michaela's neck, the inside of plastic bags taken from her body, nail cuttings, surfaces inside room 1025 in the Legends Hotel and from a length of tape stuck to a room key card.

The findings reveal that no DNA samples taken from the room match those of the two men accused of murder.

Irish Independent

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