The distraught husband of murdered Irish honeymooner Michaela Harte has issued a statement saying he was “totally devastated” by the death of his “best friend” and “rock”.
Michaela was killed after interrupting a burglary in her room at the exclusive legends resort in Mauritius. She was the daughter of famed Irish sports figure Mickey Harte.
She was strangled by an intruder or intruders and thrown into a bathtub. Evidence suggests she fought back in a vain attempt to save her life.
In his statement John McAreavey, who was married to her for only eleven days, described how the “horrific loss” of Michaela had left him “unable to take it in”.
“Words have no meaning,” McAreavey said. “I can’t describe in words how lost I feel as Michaela is not just the light of my life – she is my life.
“My beautiful wife, my best friend, my rock Michaela, has been taken from me and I still can’t take it in."
He we said "I am heartbroken and like Mickey, Marian, Michaela’s brothers and my family, I am totally devastated. I am numbed.
"I love my wife, very, very much and my world revolved around her. I can’t describe in words how lost I feel as Michaela is not just the light of my life – she is my life.
She is a gift from god and I now have an angel."
Three men have been charged with the murder of Michaela Harte, the daughter of Tyrone Gaelic football team manager, Mickey Harte. New reports now suggest that the evidence against these men is ‘circumstantial’.
Speaking to Ireland’s state broadcaster, Mauritian police commissioner, Dhun Rampersad, said “They have been provisionally charged with murder. Two have been charged (with murder), the other one ... has been charged with conspiracy."
The three men, Abinash Treeboowoon, Sandip Monea and Raj Theekov, who were all room attendants, will return to court next Wednesday, when they will be formally charged or released.
The Indian Ocean island’s police commissioners told the Irish Times that the evidence they have found against these men is “circumstantial”.
He said “They have not confessed but we have circumstantial sort of evidence but we are trying to find some other evidence to link them to the charge.”
Mr Rampersad said that he access to key cards in the hotel was critical to the case. “Not all people have access to these cards.” he said.
He also said that the fact that Michaela tried to fight off her attackers may have left some worthwhile evidence. He said “There is some signs, indications, that she might have struggled. From what we have obtained from her nails, the collections we have obtained from her nails, it looks like there may have been some struggle.”
The three suspects were identified by checking who had access to the ground floor bedrooms.
He said “I suspect the guy was in trying to rob and the lady caught him red-handed. I’m just guessing…I’m saying we have a very open mind. There may have been some other guy who did the job.
It is hoped that the trial will take place within six months. The police have asked her husband, John McAreavey, to stay on the island until next week to help with their inquiries.
Michaela was murdered in her honeymoon suite. She had been having lunch with her husband at their hotel, the five-star Legend’s complex, when she returned to her bedroom to get some biscuits to eat with her tea.
Two minutes before she entered their room the keycard system shows that someone else entered the room. She was found 20 or 30 minutes later by her husband, John McAreavey, a former Down footballer.
Investigating officers say the 27-year-old Irish teacher was wrestled to the ground, dragged to the bath tub and strangled before the water was turned on. Police believe she came face to face with at least one of her attackers. She also had defensive injuries from fighting off her attackers.
Local reports said that Michaela had been by the pool in the morning while John played golf. They then had lunch together in the restaurant at the hotel. John stayed in the restaurant while Ms Harte returned to their room.
When she did not return he followed her to the room, found the door locked and got no reply from his wife. He alerted to hotel reception and was accompanied back to Room 1025 where they used a master card to enter. John found his wife of 12 days in the bath. The hotel doctor and the police were immediately alerted.
Michaela’s brother, Mark, as well as her husband’s brother and parents have arrived to Mauritius to make arrangement to have her body returned to St. Malachy’s Church in Ballygawley, Tyrone, where she was married on December 30. They hope to have her body back in Ireland by this weekend.