C: Family Photo

We still expect justice for Michaela, says John McAreavey on 12th anniversary of her death

The widower of Michaela McAreavey has said that the Harte and McAreavey families still “push for and expect justice” for Michaela on the 12th anniversary of her death. 

Michaela, the daughter of GAA football manager, Mickey Harte, died on 10 January 2011, after she was strangled in a hotel room in Mauritius while on Honeymoon. No-one has ever been found guilty for her murder.

Michaela’s death was the first murder of a tourist in the Indian Ocean Island nation of Mauritius, with Prime minister at the time, Navin Ramgoola, expressing his sympathy to the Harte and McAreavey families at the time. Despite international media coverage and international outrage, justice has never been served.

The two hotel workers who were accused of her murder, Sandip Moneea and Avinash Treebhoowoon, were tried and declared not-guilty by the nation’s Supreme Court. They were acquitted on 12 July 2012 by a jury made up of nine members. The decision was made after just over two hours of deliberation, and was unanimous, with the jury saying it had not been convinced by the prosecution of the guilt.

Taking to Twitter on the 12th anniversary of her death, her widow John McAreavey renewed his calls for justice. He said that the families are still waiting for justice more than a decade on.

“It’s now 12 years since 2 hotel employees, Sandip Moneea & Avinash Treebhoowoon murdered Michaela in our hotel room during our honeymoon. We still push for and expect justice, but we are still waiting,” he wrote, tagging the Mauritian Prime Minister’s office, along with the nation;s official tourism Twitter profile, along with the hashtag #justiceformichaela.

 

The tweet sparked an outpouring of support and sympathy, with many people taking the time to comment that they continue to pray for the families and hold them in their thoughts.

The unsolved case was relaunched in April 2022, following pressure from Michaela’s family and politicians, triggering fresh hope. Moneea was again taken into custody alongside an ex-security guard, and the ex-hotel worker appeared in court after he was charged with conspiracy to commit larceny in relation to the couple’s hotel room. He was accused of conspiring to steal a magnetic key card to the couple’s room to commit theft, however, he denied any wrongdoing. Hopes of finally obtaining justice for Michaela took a blow when the case against him was struck out.

During the initial murder case, key prosecution witness, Raj Theekoy, alleged he had heard a woman screaming before he saw the two men exit the hotel room. Mr Theekoy committed suicide last year aged 43.

Michaela, an Irish teacher and former Ulster Rose at the Rose of Tralee, was aged just 27 when she was killed, just days after her wedding. In his 2021 memoir, Michaela’s father, Mickey Harte, poignantly reflects on her death and how he managed to cope following the loss of his only daughter Michaela, with whom he had a famously close relationship.

“Those days when I rise before the sun, a light from the corridor guides me through the house. Michaela’s room looks across from ours, still much the same as it was the night before her wedding. Just down from our door, her picture rests against the wall, lit from above,” he writes in the moving memoir.

“She smiles down on me from that frame and I close my eyes, tripping through time. One look at Michaela takes me back to her brightest day. December 30, 2010: we paused outside the church and I could sense her glee. I like to remember her that way, the way she was on her wedding day.

“Each morning, I pause here beside Michaela and pray,” he wrote.

In an interview with Gript last February, Mickey Harte discussed ‘Devotion’ and opened up about the importance of his faith in giving him strength to deal with the loss of his beloved daughter.

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