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Sandip Moneea, one of the accused murderers of Michaela McAreavey Photo by: REUTERS / Ally Soobye

Michaela Harte's accused killer to testify in court

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Sandip Moneea, one of the accused murderers of Michaela McAreavey Photo by: REUTERS / Ally Soobye

Defense lawyers have said that the two men accused of the murder of honeymoon bride Michaela McAreavey will give evidence to the trial.

Both 30-year-old Avinash Treebhoowoon and 42-year-old Sandip Moneea, were taken on Tuesday to the Mauritius hotel, Legends, where 26-year-old Michaela, daughter of Tyrone GAA county manager Mickey Harte, was found dead in her room.

The Tuesday expedition on the Indian Ocean island was to permit the jury to examine the crime scene and other relevant locations at the hotel, which has been renamed the Lux since the murder in January last year.

The prosecution case closed on Tuesday, the 21st day, of the trial which is in its fifth week and was only expected to take two weeks.

It’s expected to run for several more weeks after the defense opens on Thursday of this week, following a break for legal argument without the jury.

Both men, who worked in the hotel, deny murder.

The six men and three women of the jury were shown the since-renumbered room 1025 where Michaela was found strangled. They were also taken to the nearby poolside restaurant where she lunched with her husband John before her death on the second day of their honeymoon.

The jury was also shown 10 other rooms that have been mentioned during the previous 20 days of the trial and other significant hotel sites and landmarks referred to in court.

Earlier this week, defense lawyers were forced to drop questioning centered on controversial CCTV footage which they had said showed Michaela and her husband arguing the day she was killed.

The climbdown came after a police witness said that the couple in the footage were German, identified as Harald Hoyer and Graziella Savarese. The German pair have since confirmed that it is them in the video.

Hoyer said he would travel to Mauritius to testify. He said, “If I could definitely help the husband of Michaela, I would.”

The low resolution footage appeared to show the couple arguing.

The defense had claimed that the video showed the McAreaveys and that the time it was taken, 15:02, was about 15 minutes after the prosecution says she was murdered.

The controversial footage surfaced last week, prompting the Harte and McAreavey families to release a statement saying that the couple in the film was “definitely not” John and Michaela.

The judge told the jury to disregard the CCTV footage after it was accepted the couple were the Germans and not Michaela and John.

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