Michaela McAreavey murder - defendants acquitted

A jury in Mauritius has acquitted two hotel workers accused of murdering Michaela McAreavey while she was on her honeymoon in January 2011.

A jury in Mauritius has acquitted two hotel workers accused of murdering Michaela McAreavey while she was on her honeymoon in January 2011.

She and her husband John had only been married for 12 days.

It took just two hours for the jury to agree unanimously on their verdict.

Both Avinash Treebhoowoon, 32, and Sandip Moneea, 43, who worked at the hotel, burst into tears on hearing of their acquittal while members of the McAreavey family immediately left the courtroom.

The 27-year-old teacher from Tyrone, daughter of the county GAA team manager Mickey Harte, was killed after returning to her suite to fetch biscuits.

She was found dead in her bath. A post mortem showed that she had died from asphyxiation caused by someone gripping her throat and pressing a forearm around her collarbone.

During the trial, the prosecution said she had interrupted thieves. A witness, who had initially been arrested but was subsequently granted immunity in return for testifying, said he had seen the two defendants leaving the McAreavey’s room around the time of the murder.

The defence team claimed that the accused had been beaten and threatened, saying Avinash Treebhoowoon’s confession was made under duress.

A forensic scientist told the court that no DNA from either of the accused was found in the hotel room or on the victim’s body.

Thousands of mourners shared the grief of the Hartes and McAreaveys, attending her wake and funeral, which were rendered all the more-heartbreaking by the fact that she was buried in her wedding dress.