Northern Ireland

Michaela McAreavey trial accused not guilty

John and Michaela McAreavey
Image caption Two men have been found not guilty of murdering newlywed Michaela McAreavey in her honeymoon suite in Mauritius. The 27-year-old teacher from Northern Ireland was killed in January 2011.
Michaela and John McAreavey's wedding day
Image caption She was the daughter of one of Ireland's best known sports figures, Mickey Harte (far left), manager of the Tyrone gaelic football team.
John McAreavey
Image caption The 27-year-old had married John McAreavey just 12 days before she was murdered.
Sandip Moneea, 43 (centre left) and Avinash Treebhoowoon, 32 ( centre right)
Image caption The men who were found not guilty, Sandip Moneea, 43 (centre left) and Avinash Treebhoowoon, 32 ( centre right) both worked at the hotel where Mrs McAreavey was killed.
Supreme Court in Mauritius
Image caption The trial at the Supreme Court in Mauritius lasted more than seven weeks. It was initially expected to last two weeks but turned into one of the longest trials in Mauritian legal history.
The Lux Hotel
Image caption The police and prosecution said Mrs McAreavey had been murdered after disturbing thieves in her room at the formerly-named Legends Hotel (now the Lux Hotel)
Dr Vamachandra Sunassee, medical practitioner
Image caption Dr Vamachandra Sunassee, who carried out the post mortem examination, said she died as a result of asphyxiation caused by compression to the neck.
Avinash Treebhoowoon
Image caption Avinash Treebhoowoon said he had confessed to the murder only after being beaten and threatened by police.
Raj Theekoy
Image caption A key witness was another man initially arrested, former room attendant Raj Theekoy. However, he was granted immunity in return for his testimony.
Locals are held back by police
Image caption BBC reporter Natasha Sayee who is in Mauritius said there were cheers in court after the two men were found not guilty.
Avinash Treebhoowon, 30, looks at his wife Reshma
Image caption Both Avinash Treebhoowoon and Sandip Moneea said they were happy at the verdict but sad for the McAreaveys
Rama Valayden, defence lawyer for Sandip Moneea
Image caption The lawyers of the two men were carried down the stairs of the court on the shoulders of jubilant supporters. Rama Valayden, defence lawyer for Sandip Moneea (right)
John McAreavey, his sister Claire and Mark Harte
Image caption During the trial, John McAreavey, who married Michaela less than two weeks before her death, said "my life ended as well" that day.

Two men have been found not guilty of murdering newlywed Michaela McAreavey in her honeymoon suite in Mauritius.

The 27-year-old teacher from Northern Ireland was killed in January 2011.

She was the daughter of one of Ireland's best known sports figures, Mickey Harte, manager of the Tyrone gaelic football team.

Avinash Treebhoowoon, 32, and Sandip Moneea, 43, both worked at the hotel where Mrs McAreavey was killed.

In a statement, the McAreavey and Harte families said that following the endurance of "seven harrowing weeks of this trial" there were no words, which could "describe the sense of devastation and desolation now felt by both families".

The trial at the Supreme Court in Mauritius lasted more than seven weeks. It was initially expected to last two weeks but turned into one of the longest trials in Mauritian legal history.

The police and prosecution said Mrs McAreavey had been murdered after disturbing thieves in her room.

The doctor who carried out the post mortem examination said she died as a result of asphyxiation caused by compression to the neck.

Her said her bruises and tissue damage showed this was caused by the grip of a hand to her throat and the pressing of a forearm around her collarbone.

Avinash Treebhoowoon said he had confessed to the murder only after being beaten and threatened by police.

A key witness was another man initially arrested, former room attendant Raj Theekoy.

He had been charged with failing to come to Mrs McAreavey's aid after claiming to have heard her cries for help.

However, he was granted immunity in return for his testimony.

He said he saw both accused leaving the McAreaveys' room around the time of the murder.

Oxfordshire-based forensic scientist Susan Woodroffe said no DNA from either of the accused was found in the McAreaveys' hotel room or on Michaela's body.

Mrs McAreavey's father, Mickey Harte, is one of the most respected figures in gaelic football, a sport which is hugely popular in Ireland.

Thousands of mourners attended Michaela's funeral near her family home in Ballygawley, County Tyrone.

The 27-year-old had married John McAreavey just 12 days before she was murdered, and was buried in her wedding dress.

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