Publication of McAreavey crime photos condemned

Sun, Jul 15, 2012, 01:00

The Taoiseach today said the Government would issue a formal complaint after a Sunday newspaper in Mauritius  published photographs of the hotel room crime scene where Michaela McAreavey was killed while on honeymoon.

The publication of photographs of Ms McAreavey’s body by a Mauritian newspaper marks a new low, her family said.

The country’s Sunday Times, a paper with no connection to any British or Irish company, used images of the hotel room crime scene where Ms McAreavey was killed.

Ms McAreavey was killed while on honeymoon with her husband John at the Legends Hotel in Mauritius in January last year.

A statement from members of the couple’s family said: “As the families struggle to come to terms with the result from the trial - this action by the newspaper is not only insensitive to their grief but marks another low in the treatment of John, the two families and the dignity of Michaela.”

Around 12 black and white images of the crime scene were published today in the newspaper.

On the front page there is a photograph of Ms McAreavey taken after her death - under the headline “Exclusive”. Inside there are more images of the crime scene, including the hotel room and the bathroom. There are also pictures of Ms McAreavey’s injuries.

In a statement, Enda Kenny said: “The publication of these images represents an appalling invasion of privacy and is a gross affront to human dignity.

“There are issues of fundamental human rights in question in relation to this deeply upsetting matter. This reprehensible act can only add to the pain and suffering of the McAreavey and Harte families and our thoughts and sympathies are again with them at this time.

“On behalf of the people of Ireland, the Government will be lodging a formal complaint in the strongest possible terms, with the government of Mauritius,” the Taoiseach said.

The North's Deputy First Minister, Martin McGuinness, has also condemned the publication. Mr McGuinness said the photographs had come from within the Mauritian system.

“Just when it seems the system in Mauritius cannot heap any more pain and anguish on to the McAreavey and Harte families, a local newspaper publishes pictures of Michaela’s body,” he said.

“The decision of the newspaper in Mauritius to publish crime scene photographs, including pictures of Michaela’s body is an outrageous abuse that cannot be justified in any way,” he said.

“People in Mauritius need to realise that the eyes of the international community are firmly focused on their country and their justice system in the wake of the brutal murder of Michaela and the absolute failure to deliver justice for John McAreavey and the rest of family.

“This case will not simply go away as some in Mauritius seem to hope. I can assure the Mauritian authorities that people in Ireland will continue to keep a focus on this case until justice is done.”

Speaking earlier this afternoon, Minister for Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation Richard Bruton said the family had been treated in "an appalling way".

"To find that this is the way they have been treated and abused . . . it really is beyond belief," he said on RTÉ radio.

"The Government will be looking to see how we can take steps to protect the family because this is not legitimate - it's not fair, it's not proper."

Two former hotel workers were last week acquitted of Ms McAreavey's murder.

The director of public prosecutions in Mauritius has suggested another investigation will be undertaken into the murder of Ms McAreavey.

Satyajit Boolell said authorities would not let the matter rest following the acquittal of two hotel workers of the woman’s killing.

“We are now faced with the stark reality of a murder having been committed and no one being accountable for it so far,” said Mr Boolell. “We have already hinted for the investigation to be reopened, for further investigations to be carried out.”

Additional reporting: PA