Northern Ireland

Mauritian newspaper publishes Michaela crime scene photos

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Media captionThe BBC's Claire Savage says the publication has been widely condemned

The family of Michaela McAreavey have labelled the actions of a Mauritian newspaper "reprehensible and repugnant" after it published crime scene photos.

The pictures were of the hotel room where Michaela was killed and included images of her body.

The 27-year-old teacher from Northern Ireland was killed on her honeymoon in Mauritius in January 2011.

Deputy First Minister Martin McGuinness said the publication was an "outrageous abuse".

In a statement, the McAreavey and Harte families said the action "was insensitive to their grief".

On Thursday, Avinash Treebhoowoon, 32, and Sandip Moneea, 43, were found not guilty of Michaela's murder.

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

The director of Public Prosecution in Mauritius Satyajit Boolell has told the BBC there is to be an "independent fact finding commission" into the murder case.

The McAreavey's lawyer in Mauritius Dick Ng Sui Wa said the country had let the family down.

The Mauritian Sunday Times, in which the pictures were published, has no connection to any British or Irish publications.

Mr Ng Sui Wa said it was a relatively new paper on the island and had quite a small circulation.

A spokesperson for the families said on Sunday that the photographs marked another low in the "treatment of John, the two families and the dignity of Michaela".

"The Mauritian authorities need now to match their words with actions and ensure that insensitive reporting by newspapers within their jurisdiction does not further exacerbate the violation of Michaela and the hurt to John."

Mr McGuinness said the publication of the photographs could in no way be justified.

"It is clear that these photos have emanated from within the Mauritian system," he said.

"People in Mauritius need to realise that the eyes of the international community are firmly focused on their country and their justice system in the wake of the brutal murder of Michaela and the absolute failure to deliver justice for John McAreavey and the rest of family."

Mr Ng Sui Wa said he was angered by the publication of the photographs and would be taking action.

"This is something that should never have been published in any newspaper," he said.

"I intend to write to the Commission of Police for an inquiry and for them to take the necessary police action that will be needed."


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

In a statement after the men were acquitted, the McAreavey and Harte families said: "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."

Northern Ireland Deputy First Minister Martin McGuinness has said the people of Ireland would not rest "until justice was done" for the Harte and McAreavey families.

Mr McGuinness also said that everyone stood shoulder to shoulder with her widower, John McAreavey.

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.

Thousands of mourners attended Michaela's funeral near her family home in Ballygawley, County Tyrone in January 2011.

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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