John McAreavey tells court his life ended when Michaela's did
JOHN McAREAVEY could just about hold his composure as he described the day he met the “charming, wonderful” Michaela when they were students in Belfast.
He could tell the court about their “magical” wedding and the purchase of the new home they never got to live in. But as soon as he was asked about January 10th last year, his voice began to falter.
“It was the day my wife was murdered, that her life was ended, that my life was ended,” he said, fighting back tears.
Twelve days into the trial of two Mauritian hotel workers accused of murdering Michaela McAreavey, her widower was finally called to give evidence by the prosecution yesterday.
A packed public gallery looked on in silence as he explained how he last saw the 27-year-old teacher alive when, on the second day of their honeymoon, she left him by the hotel pool to return to their room to get a KitKat for a cup of tea.
When Michaela didn’t return, John told the court, he entered their room with help from a porter. His wife was lying motionless in the bath. The tap was still running. He grabbed her, laid her down on the floor and screamed for help.
“Michaela was cold, her lips were blue,” he said, his voice halting. “I kept on just saying ‘Michaela, Michaela, wake up, come on, come on’.”
The hotel manager arrived and attempted to revive her, but after a while he stopped trying. “I was down on my hands and knees. I was praying. I couldn’t understand what was happening,” Mr McAreavey said. As he spoke, some law students in the public gallery started to cry.
In the front row, John’s father Brendan, his sister Claire and his brother-in-law Mark Harte followed every word. So too did the two accused men, Sandip Moneea and Avinash Treebhoowoon, who were sitting just a few feet away.
The prosecution says the two hotel workers murdered Michaela after she caught them stealing in the room. They have pleaded not guilty.
Within hours of his wife’s killing, Mr McAreavey said, he was driven to a police station. He remembered one officer saying to him: “What are you crying for? You’re young – you’ll get another wife.”
After being left alone on a bench for more than five hours, he was eventually released and returned to Legends Hotel, where a nurse cared for him through the night.
“Michaela was a wonderful, wonderful person – a really special human,” Mr McAreavey said before passing photos of his wife to the jury. “She completed my whole life.”