The families of murdered bride Michaela Harte have issued a strong objection to attempts to denigrate her memory at a Mauritius trial – as it emerged the sex manual found in her hotel room was nothing more than a Cosmopolitan magazine supplement.

Lawyers defending murder suspects Avinash Treebhoowon and Sandeep Moneea caused outrage on Friday when they questioned police about items found in the honeymoon suite where Michaela was murdered last January.

Her husband John McAreavey is due to give evidence in the murder case later this week after the 27-year-old school teacher, daughter of Tyrone football boss Mickey Harte, was strangled in the hotel room.

The Irish Times reports that a heated row broke out between the two legal teams at the trial on Friday when a lawyer for one of the accused attempted to delve into the newlywed couple’s private life.

The McAreavey and Harte families responded to the allegations in a joint statement issued on Sunday.

The statement said: “Obviously, both families are very distressed and dismayed at any attempt to denigrate the memory of Michaela.

“However, they would like to thank the many family, friends and the wider public for their continued support and prayers as they endure this ordeal.

“They would particularly ask that people continue to pray so that John may be granted the necessary strength to get through the very difficult and painful days ahead.”

The Legends Hotel complex, where young bride Michaela Harte (pictured) was murderedGoogle Images