Honeymoon murder suspects to deny Michaela McAreavey killing

One of the accused, Sandip Mooneea being led by a guard

The two men charged with the honeymoon murder of Irish bride Michaela McAreavey will plead not guilty at a court in Mauritius on Wednesday.

Reports on the first anniversary of Michaela’s death say that hotel workers Avinash Treebhowon (29) and Sandip Mooneea (41) will deny all charges.

Michaela, the 27-year-old daughter of Tyrone GAA team boss Mickey Harte, was murdered after she disturbed a break-in at the couple’s honeymoon suite at the five star Legends hotel.

Treebhowon and Mooneea will deny strangling Michaela when they appear before a judge at the Supreme Court in Port Louis.

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Defence lawyer Sanjeev Teeluckdharry said: “The matter has been referred to the Supreme Court at 10am on Wednesday where the two defendants will have the charges read to them and be asked to enter a plea.

“My client and his co-accused vigorously deny any involvement in this tragedy and will plead not guilty. The court will then set a date on which a trial can begin.”

Mauritian state prosecutors announced in December that they believe there is sufficient evidence to mount a formal case against the hotel workers who have been held in custody for almost a year now.

Schoolteacher Michaela and her new husband John were only days into their honeymoon when the former Rose of Tralee contestant was found strangled in a half-filled bathtub.

Detectives claimed Treebhowon confessed under questioning that he and Mr Mooneea strangled Michaela by accident after she entered the room and caught them stealing from her purse.

Treebhowon, a devout Hindu, says he confessed only after he was violently tortured by officers.

The trial, which may not be completed until late this year, is expected to hear evidence from John McAreavey.
 

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