Published Thursday, 12 July 2012
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The trial of 32-year-old Avinash Treebhoowoon, and Sandip Moneea, 43 - who both denied the January 2011 killing, which happened at the luxury Legends resort where they then worked - has lasted into its eighth week.
The jury of six men and three women delivered unanimous not guilty verdicts at the Supreme Court in Port Louis on Thursday, to cheers from supporters of the two accused in the public gallery.
The deliberations had taken just over two hours.
Relatives of Michaela and John left the court as the men broke down in tears and were released.
I'm so sad about this lady. But I did not kill this lady.
"After waiting 18 months in search of justice for Michaela, and following the endurance of seven harrowing weeks of this trial, there are no words which can describe the sense of devastation and desolation now felt," the Harte and McAreavey families said in a statement.
They added that they do not intend to make any further comment until they return home from Mauritius.
Outside the court building, those supporting the two acquitted men let off fireworks and celebrated the verdicts.
Weeping and hugging his lawyer, Moneea said: "I am so happy to be back with my family. These past 18 months have been so hard."
It had been the prosecution case that Treebhoowoon and Moneea killed Michaela when she went to the room to get some biscuits and caught them stealing.
But, by their verdicts, the jury rejected that case.
Treebhoowoon had confessed to the murder during police questioning in the days after Michaela's body was found, but he later insisted he had only done so under torture by the officers holding him.
Meanwhile, a phone call made by Moneea on 10 January 2011, just after 2.45pm - the time Michaela is said to have been killed - was key evidence presented by his defence and accepted by the jury as proof of innocence.
The young bride - the only daughter of Tyrone GAA boss Mickey Harte - was aged just 27 when her new husband found her strangled in their hotel room.
The trial has been one of the longest of its kind in Mauritian history and defence lawyer Rayma Valayden has now called for the police investigation into Michaela's killing to be reopened immediately.
"My message to the McAreavey family is don't despair - we will find for you guilty persons," he said.
Thursday, 30 December 2010
Michaela Harte is married to John McAreavey in Co Tyrone.
Saturday, 08 January 2011
The newlyweds arrive in Mauritius for their honeymoon.
Monday, 10 January 2011 02:40 PM
They lunch by the pool. Michaela goes to their room to get a KitKat.
Monday, 10 January 2011 02:44 PM
Michaela uses her key card to enter room 1025.
Monday, 10 January 2011 02:45 PM
Hotel worker Raj Theekoy claims he heard a woman crying out in pain.
Monday, 10 January 2011 02:50 PM
Theekoy claims he saw the accused coming out of room 1025.
Monday, 10 January 2011 02:55 PM
John goes to look for Michaela. He doesn’t have a key card.
Monday, 10 January 2011 03:15 PM
John arrives at reception before heading back to the room.
Monday, 10 January 2011 03:26 PM
A bell-boy opens the door - John frantically tries to revive his wife.
Monday, 10 January 2011 03:47 PM
Theekoy and Treebhoowoon are seen in the canteen.
Tuesday, 11 January 2011
Treebhoowoon, Moneea and Theekoy are arrested by police.
Monday, 17 January 2011
Michaela is laid to rest, dressed in her white wedding gown.
Tuesday, 22 May 2012
The trial of Moneea and Treebhoowoon begins.
Thursday, 12 July 2012
Moneea and Treebhoowoon found not guilty of murder.
Michaela murder trial