McAreavey says wife's killing ended his life

Thu, Jun 7, 2012, 01:00

JOHN McAREAVEY has told a court in Mauritius he felt his life had ended when his wife Michaela was killed in their hotel room last year.

Giving evidence at the trial of two men accused of murdering the 27-year-old teacher, Mr McAreavey described frantic efforts to revive her after he found her body in the bath at their suite at Legends Hotel in Grand Gaube.

Ms McAreavey, the daughter of Tyrone football manager Mickey Harte, was strangled while on honeymoon in Mauritius in January last year. The prosecution says room attendants Sandip Moneea and Avinash Treebhoowoon murdered the Co Tyrone teacher when she returned to the room and caught them stealing. Both men deny the charges.

“It was the day that my wife was murdered, that her life was ended and my life was ended,” Mr McAreavey said, referring to January 10th, 2011. “Everything was finished on that day; everything was destroyed.”

He described how after lunch she left him to make the short trip back to their room to get a Kit Kat. He had offered to go for it but, because he had done so for her the night before, she told him it was okay. “I assume she didn’t want me running round the whole time, but I obviously wish she had let me go to the room,” he said.

When his wife did not return, Mr McAreavey said he entered the room with the help of a hotel porter. Inside, he saw his wife floating in the bath as cold water poured from the tap.

Within hours of his wife’s killing he was taken away from the hotel in a police four-wheel-drive with four officers. “I distinctly remember the policeman on the left of me saying: ‘Did you have an argument with your wife?’ I could see what he was implying. I abruptly told him: ‘No, no.’ Then he said: ‘What are you crying for? You’re young, you’ll get another wife’.” Mr McAreavey said he was then taken to a derelict-looking police station, where he was put in a room. Officers took off his shirt and examined him for marks.

“I could see what was going through their minds,” he said. “They put handcuffs on me and I was sat down on a bench.”

Mr McAreavey said he was then left alone for more than five hours before being released.

During cross-examination, Rama Valayden, representing Mr Moneea, asked Mr McAreavey about his claim that he had gone to get biscuits for his wife the night before the murder. Asking him to review key card records of room entries, the lawyer suggested they did not appear to fit with his recollection.

Mr Valayden put it to Mr McAreavey that if his version of events was true, the key card reader must have been wrong. “Perhaps,” he replied.

Sanjeev Teeluckdharry, representing Mr Treebhoowoon, challenged Mr McAreavey to explain why certain details he mentioned in court had not been included in six police statements he had given in the wake of the murder. “I will make no excuse for not having each and every detail recorded because at that time it was not at the top of my mind,” he replied.

Earlier in the trial, Mr Teeluckdharry claimed the contents of a sex guide book found in the honeymooners’ room formed the crux of his case. Yesterday, however, the lawyer made no mention of it as he questioned Mr McAreavey. He claimed that other items, such as a belt and a laptop cable, retrieved from the room were “extremely suspicious”.

Prosecution counsel Mehdi Manrakhan immediately objected to Judge Prithviraj Fecknah: “My lord, how are those suspicious?” The judge told Mr Teeluckdharry that he could only ask such a question if he was prepared to provide a foundation for the claim. The lawyer declined to pose another question.