Published on 12 Jan 2011 Sections

Three charged over Michaela Harte honeymoon murder

Three hotel staff appear in court in Mauritius charged in connection with the murder of Michaela Harte, daughter of football manager Micky Harte, who was found strangled while on her honeymoon.

Michaela Harte

The three men, who were employed at the Legends Hotel complex, appeared in court in Mapou Court on the north side of the island Mauritius.

Two were charged with murder and another with conspiracy to murder.

Newlywed teacher Michaela McAreavey, 27, was found strangled in her hotel room while on her honeymoon with her husband John, who is a Down senior Gaelic footballer.

The couple were married on 20 December.

It has been alleged that Mrs McAreavey disturbed the suspects who had broken into the couple’s room using a dummy swipe card to gain access.

Mr McAreavey went to look for his wife after she had been gone for 10 minutes and found the hotel room door locked.

He knocked but did not receive any response so he went to reception and a hotel employee accompanied him back to Room 1025 where they used a master card to open the door.

Mr McAreavey then found his wife strangled in the bath.

Tributes paid

On Tuesday Michaela’s father and celebrated football manager, Mickey Harte, spoke of his devastation over the death of his “beautiful” daughter.

“This is the worst nightmare that anyone can imagine. If you think things can be bad, then you go beyond that because that is where we are,” the Tyrone GAA boss said.

Mauritius police said the two men charged with the 27-year-old’s murder were Abinash Treeboowoon, 29, a room attendant from Plaine des Roches, and Sandip Moneea, 41, a floor supervisor from Petit Raffray.

Room attendant Raj Theekoy, 33, faced the conspiracy charge.

Magistrate Bono Mally remanded them in police custody for a week and they will return to court next Wednesday, when they are expected either to be formally charged or released.

The newlyweds were married less than two weeks ago near to the Harte family home on the outskirts of Ballygawley, Co Tyrone.

Outside the house last night Mickey Harte stood with two of his three sons, Matthew and Michael, and said: “This is too horrible to contemplate. We are just all devastated. It is the worst of the worst and our hearts are broken.”

His other son Mark arrived in Mauritius today with a brother of Michaela’s husband.

Mauritius police commissioner Tishur Ranpersad reassured the public that a large number of experienced officers were working on the case.

At a press conference earlier, he said detectives were doing their best to solve it. Police sergeant Lindsay Mirthil described it as a “very unusual” case.

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