Government of Mauritius agrees to review case of Michaela McAreavey murder

Announcement by Arlene Foster and Michelle O’Neill welcomed by family

Michaela McAreavey (27) was strangled in her hotel room on the Indian Ocean island on January 10th, 2011. Photograph: PA

Michaela McAreavey (27) was strangled in her hotel room on the Indian Ocean island on January 10th, 2011. Photograph: PA

 

The government of Mauritius has agreed to look again at the case of murdered Irishwoman Michaela McAreavey, Arlene Foster and Michelle O’Neill have confirmed.

The former DUP leader and first minister and Sinn Féin’s vice president met the McAreavey family on Monday to update them on progress following engagement with the Mauritian government.

Ms McAreavey (27), the only daughter of all-Ireland winning Gaelic football manager Mickey Harte, was strangled in her hotel room on the Indian Ocean island on January 10th, 2011.

The Co Tyrone teacher, who was on her honeymoon when she was killed, having been married 10 days earlier, was attacked as she returned to her room alone and disturbed a burglary.

Two former workers at the luxury resort — Sandip Moneea and Avinash Treebhoowoon — were acquitted after a high-profile trial on the holiday island in the summer of 2012.

Mrs McAreavey’s widower, John, has led a long campaign for justice on behalf of her loved ones.

He welcomed the new development, tweeting: “A significant step in the right direction. Thank you Michelle and Arlene.”

Options are currently being explored on how best to further support the family in their efforts to see justice, Mrs Foster and Ms O’Neill said.

Mrs Foster said: “The death of Michaela McAreavey whilst on honeymoon touched everyone across Northern Ireland.

“The fact that, more than 10 years later, no-one has been brought to justice for this most dreadful crime only serves to compound the grief and pain endured by Michaela’s family.”

She added: “I felt both a personal and professional responsibility to do everything possible to bring about justice for a young woman who was so cruelly taken from the many people who knew and loved her.

“And I’m pleased that one of my last duties as First Minister was to update the family on this important progress and show my support for their unrelenting campaign.”

Ms O’Neill said: “Michaela McAreavey was a remarkable young woman; adored by her family, friends and students. The taking of her young life was devastating for all who knew her.

“In pursuit of justice for Michaela, the Harte and McAreavey families have fought a decade-long battle with dignity and determination. We gave a commitment to support them in that battle and I’m encouraged that we have now received agreement from the Mauritian government to look again at the case.

“Michaela deserves justice and the very least her family deserve is truth. No stone should be left unturned in pursuing that, and we will continue to do all we can to see it delivered.”

The format and terms of the review have not yet been detailed. The Mauritian government did not respond to queries about it on Monday, while a spokeswoman for the Northern Ireland Executive said no further details were available.

A spokeswoman for the Department of Foreign Affairs said it “has provided ongoing consular assistance to the family in relation to this case and has been monitoring developments closely.

“As with all consular cases, it would not be appropriate to discuss the details of the case,” she said.

Last summer the case was reinvestigated by a new team of detectives from the Mauritian Central Criminal Investigation Department. However, this concluded with police saying no new evidence had been uncovered. - PA