McAreavey and Harte families sue Mauritius hotel for €1.6m damages

Tue, Oct 23, 2012, 01:00

JOHN McAREAVEY and five other members of the family of murdered Irish woman Michaela Harte have entered civil proceedings against the former Legends Hotel now known as Lux Resorts.

They are claiming damages including interest amounting to 65 million rupees (€1.6 million).

The case will be brought before the supreme court in Mauritius for the first time on November 15th.

The members of the Harte and McAreavey families claim the damages will cover the funeral arrangements, the prices of air tickets and legal costs, the annual salaries forfeited after the death of Michaela as well as moral damages.

The two families accuse the management of Lux Resorts of failure of responsibility and/or negligence and/or lack of diligence. They claim the murder of Ms Harte, who was honeymooning in Mauritius with her husband John McAreavey when she was killed, occurred as a consequence of the hotel’s failure to ensure its obligations around security were fulfilled.

The families indicate the damages and interest paid will be transferred to the Michaela Foundation Trust, which will fund the education of vulnerable children in Ireland.

In a holding statement issued by Lux Resorts, the management of the hotel said: “No official communication from the Harte and McAreavey families has yet been received as of today by the legal counsel of the hotel concerning a civil lawsuit.” They therefore did not wish “to comment on this case”.

The management reiterated “its full support for the bereaved families”.

Dick Ng Sui Wa, for the Harte and McAreavey families, said: “The proceedings entered by the Harte and McAreavey families claiming damages follows a logical sequence. I find this ... to be reasonable since Michaela Harte was murdered at the hotel.”

He added that neither family entered proceedings while the criminal case was being heard for fear it might interfere.

Ms Harte (27) was found strangled in her room at the Legends Hotel in January 2011. Two former hotel workers, Avinash Treebhoowoon and Sandip Moneea, were found not guilty of her murder following a lengthy trial.