McAreavey accused gives evidence


A hotel worker accused of murdering honeymooner Michaela McAreavey in Mauritius has insisted he was elsewhere in the resort when she died.

Testifying in his own defence, Avinash Treebhoowoon said he cleaned the deluxe room at the island’s Legends Hotel where the Co Tyrone teacher was found dead, on the day of the crime.

But he claimed he left at 2.35pm — about 10 minutes before the prosecution claims the daughter of Tyrone gaelic football boss Mickey Harte was strangled.

Treebhoowoon, who gave evidence in his native French Creole, and co accused Sandip Moneea deny murdering the 27-year-old newlywed.

The defendant told the Supreme Court in Port Louis he left the room — 1025 — and went to room 1023.

“I remembered that I had forgotten to replace the shampoo in room 1023,” he explained to the jurors.

Treebhoowoon was the first defence witness called at the trial.

Both defendants worked at the exclusive beachside resort at the time of the murder last January and the prosecution claims they attacked Mrs McAreavey when she caught them stealing in her room.

There were heated exchanges between defence and prosecution counsel at the outset of his testimony as the state objected to the way lawyer Sanjeev Teeluckdharry was questioning his witness.

Judge Prithviraj Fecknah intervened. “I will just call upon everybody to calm down,” he said.

Treebhoowoon, from Plaine des Roches, was a room attendant in Legends while Moneea, from Petit Raffray, was his floor supervisor.