Island 'is still a safe place'

Adelina Campos

MAURITIUS remains one the safest holiday destinations in the area, crime experts insist.

Senior crime reporter Gilles Martial has been following murder investigations for almost two decades.

While he said that the murder of Michaela Harte was a 'one-off', he revealed that such violence in his country was not unheard of -- although it had never been aimed at foreigners before.

The island has a population of 1.2 million people.

"There is an average of 28 to 30 murders per year, which is quite low for the region," he told the Herald.

"One of the most significant characteristics of crime in Mauritius is the lack of gang crime or racist crime, that notion is completely foreign to us," he added.

"The majority of murders are 'crimes of passion' between locals, which are sometimes the result of excessive consumption of alcohol.

"Michaela's murder is exceptional -- I've never heard of such a case in my 18 years working as a crime reporter and investigating murders."