A courtroom in Mauritius will re-live the final tragic moments of Michaela Harte’s life next week when the investigation into her honeymoon murder intensifies.
A pre-trial hearing - to decide what evidence can go forward against the two men charged with her murder – is due to get underway.
Hotel workers Avinash Treebhoowoon and Sandip Mooneea will be tried this summer but only after a local judge decides what evidence can be used against them.
According to the Sunday World, local police are relying heavily on the evidence of a hotel cleaner in their case against the two hotel workers accused of strangling Michaela last January.
Raj Theekoy’s evidence will be examined at the Mauritius courthouse before a judge decides exactly what is relevant in the murder trial.
Michaela, daughter of the Tyrone football boss Mickey, was killed when she upset intruders raiding her room at the luxury Legends Hotel on the paradise island.
Her new husband John McAreavey was still at a table in the hotel restaurant when the robbers killed Michaela after she stumbled upon them on a brief return to her room.
Theekoy, a cleaner at the hotel, was initially arrested as a suspect in the case but was later cleared when he told police that he happened upon the murder.
He claimed he had walked by the room and had become suspicious that a cleaning trolley was outside it even though the door was closed.
Hotel rules stated that all doors had to remain open while cleaners were at work.
His statement says that he heard screams inside the room and then saw the two accused walk away and split up. When he confronted them over what happened, they warned him to stay quiet.
“The preliminary hearing will decide if Theekoy’s evidence can be used,” explained Inspector Ranjit Jokhoo, the man in charge of the investigation.
“The hearing will examine all the evidence that has been brought together during the course of the inquiry.
“The weight of that evidence will be assessed as regards what will go forward for trial.
“The defence will be able to cross-examine Theekoy on his evidence and it will then be up to the court whether or not it is admissible.”
Michaela’s husband John has already submitted his evidence in writing to the court and may be spared a return to the island where his new wife was murdered.
“It will be up to the court to decide if he has to come over to attend the preliminary hearing or the trial which will follow within a matter of weeks,” Inspector Jokhoo told the Sunday World.
“This has all been fast-tracked as it is likely that the actual trial will follow the hearing within a few weeks. It will certainly take place over the summer.”