Michaela's body arrives home

Published Friday, 14 January 2011
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The body of honeymoon murder victim Michaela McAreavey has been returned to her family home, ahead of Monday's funeral at the Co Tyrone church where she was recently married.

Tyrone GAA boss Mickey Harte and mother Marian received the coffin at their home in Ballygawley, where a private family service was held on Friday evening.

Brothers Michael and Matthew Harte and family friends were amongst those waiting at the George Best Belfast City Airport when the plane carrying Michaela's coffin landed at lunchtime.

The 27-year-old teacher was found strangled in the bath in her Mauritius hotel room earlier this week, whilst on honeymoon with husband John McAreavey.

Michaela was flown home alongside John, brother Mark and brother-in-law Brian.

There were emotional scenes as the hearse passed the Ballygawley Road roundabout, where the Tyrone GAA team used to gather on their way to Croke Park.

Former Tyrone Captain Peter Canavan joined members of the Errigal Ciaran GAA Club as mourners lined the cortege route.

"This is the scene where Tyrone would have left for all their successes, where Mickey would have gathered his troops before heading to Croke Park", family friend and former sports presenter Adrian Logan explained.

In a statement the Harte and McAreavey families gave thanks for the support they have received during "these darkest of days".

"We are all grateful for the prayers and support we have received from all parts of Ireland, the UK and across the world," the families said. "This support has helped sustain us physically, emotionally and spiritually through these darkest of days.

"The distance from Mauritius has only increased our sense of isolation and separation from our beloved Michaela and her husband John. Now as two heartbroken and devastated families, together we can share our grief and our love for Michaela and provide support and comfort to John."

Anyone wishing to pay their respects can do so at the family home on Saturday and Sunday.

There will be special park and ride facilities provided at nearby locations.

Irish President Mary McAleese has confirmed that she will attend Monday's funeral.

The requiem will be held at St Malachy's Church, Ballymacilroy, in the Parish of Errigal Ciaran at 12.30pm. Michaela will then be buried in the adjoining cemetery.

The relatives have asked that in lieu of flowers, donations be made to charities formed in memory of two Tyrone gaelic footballers who also died in tragic circumstances, the Cormac (McAnallen) Trust and the Spirit of Paul McGirr Fund.

Three men have been remanded in custody after appearing in court in Mauritius on charges connected to the murder.

© UTV News
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485 Comments
geraldine in dungannon wrote (1,415 days ago):
Continued prayers that you will be comforted by the supoort and love of those around you. And, that you will know we can never forget the tradegy that befell Michaela - keep her memory always close - you were truly blessed to have such a wonderful daughter for 27 years ... but the nightmare of her leaving has left a huge impact on her family, on her friends, on the whole country indeed the whole world...God Bless all of you xx
Carlin Family in fintona wrote (1,435 days ago):
Our Prayers are with John and the Heart Family, May God help you all at this very sad time, R.I.P Michaela
James mcdermott in Montreal. wrote (1,435 days ago):
Dear Harte and Dear Mc Areavey families.Our hearts and our prayers are with you on this sad farewell. The wee gem is your shining light God bless her.
geraldine mc evoy in newry wrote (1,435 days ago):
may God bless and keep you all strong during this terrible time. Michaela didnt deserve such brutality. No-one does. may she rest in peace in the embrace of her Heavenly Father. RIP Michaela God Bless.
Samantha in IE Donegal wrote (1,435 days ago):
If this didn't bring a tear to your eye your not human. It's no way to be bringing your daughter home from honeymoon! Two family's devastated by such a tragic and unthinkable thing. Beautiful Michaela, now a beautiful angel in heaven. I've no doubt she will be looking down on her family and friends and giving them comfort!
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