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Heartbroken dad turns down Rose tribute to Michaela

Rose of Tralee organisers offered to pay an emotional tribute to the late Michaela Harte during this year's festival.

However, the Herald can reveal how her heartbroken father said he would rather they didn't highlight the former contestant's tragic passing.

"An approach was made to her father Mickey about a tribute, we were going to put something in the festival brochure about it. But he gracefully declined the offer," said a festival spokesman. "We did make a full statement about it at the time of her death."


The daughter of the Tyrone GAA manager was the Ulster Rose in 2004 and was later described as a "picture perfect" contestant.

But the beauty's life was suddenly cut short after she was murdered while honeymooning with husband John McAreavey.

She was found strangled in the bath of her hotel room in Mauritius after going back to fetch biscuits. Two hotel workers have now been charged with her murder.

Limerick socialite Celia Holman Lee, who was one of the judges during the year Michaela competed, paid tribute after her death, saying: "Even all these years on, I still remember her so well and I'll always remember her as the festival rolls around. I particularly remember her amazing sense of style."

RTE's Ryan Tubridy, who hosted the 2004 pageant, described her as one of the "warmest, kindest people" that he had ever met.

Former Legends Hotel employees Avinash Treebhoowoon (30) and Sandip Moneea (41) now look set to face a full trial this autumn after a month of hearings.

Both men have denied murdering 27-year-old Michaela on January 10 this year. They face 60 years in prison if convicted of the crime.