A judge in Mauritius has ordered that the two men accused of killing Irish bride Michaela Harte should face trial for her murder.
Magistrate Sheila Bonomally made the judgment at the end of a preliminary enquiry into the evidence against Avinash Treebhowon (30) and Sandip Moneea (41).
They are accused of strangling Michaela, daughter of Tyrone football manager Mickey, as she honeymooned on the island after her marriage to Armagh star John McAreevey.
Harte had gone back to her room when it is believed she disturbed the two hotel workers as they attempted to rob the newly married couple.
Both men have denied murdering the 27-year-old Michaela as she honeymooned on the Indian Ocean island in January.
The accused have repeatedly claimed they were beaten by police but now face 60 years in prison if convicted.
The enquiry heard a contested confession by Treebhowon in which he alleged that Moneea strangled Michaela when she walked into the room as they were trying to steal money from her wallet.
It is alleged that Moneea said ‘We had to kill her’ because she would have been able to identify them.
Judge Bonomally said: “This court has a probable presumption that you are guilty. The court’s judgment is a temporary one until the DPP makes a final decision. The court does not condemn you on a charge of murder.”
Relatives of the accused have again claimed their innocence.
“My husband is innocent, it is very hard that we are now contemplating a trial. I wished it had ended here, I will keep on supporting my husband and I firmly believe he is innocent,” said Reshma Treebhowon.
Rekha Moneea added: “This enquiry is a joke. The real culprit is out having a good time while innocents will probably face a murder trial.”