Northern Ireland

Michaela McAreavey: I'm returning to Mauritius to seek justice says murdered bride's husband

John McAreavey
Image caption John McAreavey says he is 'not going for sympathy, he just wants justice'

John McAreavey knows that making the 6,000 mile journey from Northern Ireland to Mauritius means reliving the horror of his wife's death on the island six years ago.

He is not going for sympathy, he says. He just wants justice.

No-one has ever been convicted of murdering Michaela McAreavey, the daughter of Tyrone gaelic football manager Mickey Harte.

The killer, or killers, are still walking free.

Last September, John McAreavey got married again and some people assumed he had given up on hopes of a conviction in the case.

Image caption Michaela McAreavey was found dead in a bath at the hotel where the couple were on honeymoon

He said the assumption could not be further from the truth.

Speaking before leaving for Mauritius, Mr McAreavey said: "What we're trying to achieve from this whole process is justice - justice for Michaela and for our families.

"It is a hard process, there's no doubt about that, but it's been hard ever since Michaela died.

"We're not content with how things have been happening over in Mauritius."

Two hotel workers were acquitted of murdering Michaela McAreavey after an eight-week trial - the longest in Mauritian legal history - in July 2012.

The previous year, the school teacher had been killed while on honeymoon in room 1025 of the Legends Hotel. The police said she had been strangled to death after disturbing intruders who broke into the room to steal money.

Image copyright PA
Image caption John and Michaela McAreavey on their wedding day six years ago

The four-star hotel has since been renamed the Lux Hotel.

At the time of the murder, there were fears that the killing would damage tourism in Mauritius, however any impact was short-lived and more than 1m visitors still travel to the Indian Ocean island every year.

Since the acquittal of the two hotel workers Avinash Treebhoowoon and Sandip Moneea, there have been a number of new developments:

  • Police launched a fresh investigation into the killing;
  • New legislation was passed allowing retrials in Mauritius if "compelling" new evidence emerged;
  • The police "widened the net" in the search for the killers;
  • Some exhibits in the McAreavey case were sent to France for DNA testing.

Last year, the case was reviewed by the Director of Public Prosecutions in Mauritius. He concluded that the grounds did not exist to proceed with a prosecution.

He informed the McAreavey's lawyer, Dick Ng Sui Wa, who passed the information on to the family.

First visit in five years

After taking a few months to consider his options, John McAreavey decided to return to Mauritius to appeal for help in tracking down the killers.

"Denial of justice is a very difficult thing to bear - it's a very hard thing to endure," he said.

"We'll be appealing to the Mauritian public. We're hoping that maybe someone will be able to come forward and maybe give us a little bit more information, maybe something that can lead to evidence, to bring us back on the road to justice."

The Mauritian police are expected to meet Mr McAreavey to update him on the case when he arrives at the island's capital, Port Louis, at the weekend.

In September last year, he got married again, to Tara Brennan, an accountant from County Kildare.

"Tara supports me so much in this," he said. "Anyone that loves you, and loves you the right way, will know that they'll support you in anything that's important in your life."

John is expected to travel to Mauritius with his sister, Claire McAreavey who is a lawyer, and Mark Harte, one of Michaela's brothers. All three attended the eight-week trial in 2012.

This is their first visit back to the island for almost five years.

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