Emotions run high in Mauritius

Published Friday, 15 June 2012
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Emotions were running high at a packed out Mauritius Supreme Court on Friday morning at the murder trial of Co Tyrone newlywed Michaela McAreavey.

Emotions run high in Mauritius
John McAreavey, husband of Michaela McAreavey, leaves the court (© PA)

Crash barriers had to be erected outside the courthouse to deal with the huge crowds trying to get a space in the public gallery.

When Friday's court proceedings began, the jury was shown CCTV images from the Legends Hotel reception area on the date that the 27-year-old teacher was murdered.

Around 200 people were inside to see the footage played. The honeymooner's widower John McAreavey watched from the front row of a crammed public gallery.

Assistant commissioner Yoosoof Soopun told the court that grainy images of a couple apparently arguing in the hotel reception are not of the tragic honeymooner and her husband.

He said the man and woman had been identified as holidaying Germans.

The footage was filmed just after 3pm on 10 January last year, around 15 minutes after the prosecution claim the daughter of Tyrone Gaelic football boss Mickey Harte died at the hands of two hotel employees.

There hasn't been this much interest in the Michaela McAreavey murder trial since proceedings began last month. People had gathered early to get a seat in court number five. By the time the judge and jury entered the court room there was standing room only.

UTV's Marc Mallett

As the pictures were shown at their trial at the packed Supreme Court in Port Louis, the officer insisted it was not the McAreaveys.

"I am 100% sure that the couple found at the reception at 15.02 is not the McAreavey couple and I am able to confirm it," he said.

He produced documentation to the court relating to the German couple, Harald Hoyer and Savarese Graziella.

Mr Soopun said police had taken statements from the staff members pictured behind the reception.

He admitted they had only been interviewed on Thursday, but he said this was because he was satisfied there were "obviously differences between the McAreavey couple and this German couple".

There was some deliberation in court about where the German couple were staying in the hotel and also when they had checked out of the hotel and also another German couple staying at the Legends resort.

The judge said while the police witness insisted the couple were not the McAreaveys, defence lawyers contend they were.

He added: "It hasn't been proved and established beyond reasonable doubt this is the German couple."

The McAreavey and Harte families have released a statement claiming the images in the CCTV footage are "definitely not" John and Michaela.

Footage was requested that would show when the German couple checked out of the hotel and also pictures from the beach around the time of the murder.

The trial has now been adjourned until Monday.

Former room attendant Avinash Treebhoowoon, 31, and floor supervisor Sandip Moneea, 42, deny murder.

© UTV News
Comments Comments
sean in usa wrote (951 days ago):
lets hope justice is done here
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