McAreavey trial evidence concludes
A verdict is anticipated next week in the trial of two men accused of murdering honeymooner Michaela McAreavey in Mauritius after the final pieces of evidence were presented to the jury.
The remaining four defence witnesses testified and the last exhibits were produced at the Supreme Court in Port Louis today, bringing to a close the case for defendant Sandip Moneea.
With the case for co-accused Avinash Treebhoowoon having been heard last week, the long running and much delayed trial is nearing an end.
Judge Prithviraj Fecknah told jurors that court would adjourn for a day and a half before the closing statement for the prosecution is heard on Friday. Defence statements will follow on Monday with the jury set to be sent out later in the week following judicial directions.
“The proceedings are not over,” said Mr Justice Fecknah. “What is over at this stage is the evidence. We still have a few steps to follow.”
More than 40 witnesses testified during the last 30 days of evidence. The case was originally listed for nine days. The judge said court transcripts already run to some 2,000 pages.
Both the accused worked at the island’s Legends Hotel at the time Mrs McAreavey was found dead in room 1025 last January.
Ex-floor supervisor Mr Moneea (43), from Petit Raffray, and former room attendant Mr Treebhoowoon (32), from Plaine des Roches, deny her murder. The prosecution claims they attacked the newlywed when she interrupted them stealing in her room, having left her husband John at a poolside restaurant.
Mr McAreavey, his father Brendan, sister Claire and brother-in law Mark Harte sat in the front row of the public gallery as the last witness was called.
He was a representative of a phone company who confirmed that a call from a mobile owned by Moneea was made just after 2.45pm on the day the Co Tyrone teacher was strangled. This is around the time the prosecution contends Mrs McAreavey was attacked by the two defendants.
While the defence insist the call proves Mr Moneea was not involved, the prosecution claim he was phoning his sister to ask advice on what he had just done.
Dhanraj Lillah from Mauritius Telecom, in a brief appearance in the witness box, outlined timing details of the call. He said it was made at 14.45 and 20 seconds.
“It lasted four minutes, 18 seconds,” he said.
The witness also said the time was synchronised with GPS satellite, adding: “It’s accurate time.”
During the course of the trial key prosecution witnesses Raj Theekoy implicated Mr Moneea and Mr Treebhoowoon, claiming he saw them coming from the direction of room 1025 minutes after he heard a woman scream in pain from inside.