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Michaela's sister-in-law pleads for quiet in court

AFTER enduring days of giggles, guffaws and even loud outbursts of laughter, Michaela McAreavey's sister-in-law finally snapped.

As another ripple started in the public gallery, Claire McAreavey turned to the packed crowd behind her in the Mauritian court room and begged them to show respect.

"Be quiet please," she implored the room, which was eventually embarrassed into silence.

There was a definite change to a more sober atmosphere yesterday, with judge Mr Justice Prithviraj Fecknah taking a stricter approach.

He even threatened to search every member of the court and hold them in contempt if they were found to have their mobile phones switched on after interference with the sound system distracted jury members.

As Claire placed her head in her hands, it was evident that the case, which has barely even begun, is already starting to take its toll on the families.


The two men sitting handcuffed in the dock were almost invisible as the legal teams for the defence repeatedly tried to turn the attention on to John McAreavey.

Little reference was made to Michaela McAreavey's two accused killers, Avinash Treebhoowoon and Sandip Moneea, throughout day six of their trial.

Instead, their lawyers shifted the focus of the case towards Mr McAreavey, much to the distress of his family and annoyance of investigating police officers.

Attempting to turn the attention away from the two accused hotel workers, defence lawyers first raised questions about a guest staying at Legends Hotel on the day of Mrs McAreavey's murder who made an "unexpected and premature departure" a few hours after her body was discovered.

They then focused on 27-year-old Michaela's husband John, who has not been allowed to attend the trial because he is a witness.

John's father Brendan and his sister Claire shook their heads as the court was told that in the hours after the murder of his wife he had been described as a "suspect" by police and kept under guard at the hotel.

hnews@herald.ie aangaa