The prosecution in the Michaela McAreavey murder trial in Mauritius has begun outlining its case against two accused men who brutally murdered her on her honeymoon. Mauritius is a small island about 400 miles east of Madagascar.
Mrs McAreavey, from Ballygawley, Co Tyrone, was the only daughter of Mickey Harte, the GAA boss who steered his native county to three All Ireland championships.
The Legends Hotel, where the murder took place has since been renamed the Lux Hotel, is in the fishing village of Grand Gaube, close to Mauritius’s Grand Bay.
Mrs McAreavey taught religious education and the Irish language at St Patrick’s Academy in Dungannon, Co Tyrone.
Her Requiem Mass was held close to her family home at St Malachy’s chapel in Ballymacilroy – the same church in which she had married a fortnight before she was killed.
A Mauritius hotel room cleaning crew member Avinash Treebhoowoon, 30, and his floor supervisor Sandip Moneea, 42, are charged with the murder of a 27-year-old Co Tyrone woman in January of last year.
Mrs McAreavey was found strangled at the Legends Hotel where she was on honeymoon with her husband, John.
A jury of six men and three women was selected on the opening day of the trial yesterday.
This morning, lawyer Mehdi Manrakhan told the jury that a witness heard a scuffle taking place in room 1025 at the Legends Hotel on the day of the killing.
“He heard a female voice crying and then ‘Agh, agh, agh’ as if she was in pain.”
He claimed the witness – Raj Theekoy – then saw the two men accused of the murder leave the room.
Mr Manrakhan added: “This was a dream honeymoon for John (McAreavey, her husband) and Michaela, which turned into a nightmare.”
The two defendants deny the charge of premeditated murder.
The prosecutor said Mr McAreavey had returned to their room after his wife, daughter of Tyrone football manager Mickey Harte, failed to return from fetching biscuits to have with a cup of tea.
He had to get a member of the hotel staff to open the door when no-one answered.
Mr Manrakhan said medical examinations showed Mrs McAreavey died from asphyxiation due to compression of the neck.
“Medical evidence is such that there can be no doubt that Michaela had been brutally killed.”