Jury visits honeymoon murder hotel

The jury in the Michaela McAreavy murder trial today visited the Lux Hotel, (formerly Legends Hotel) in the north of Mauritius, where the Ballygawley teacher was killed. (Paul Faith/PA)

Two men accused of murdering Michaela McAreavey were taken to the Mauritius hotel where she was found dead as the jury toured the site.

Security was tight outside the Lux hotel, formerly named Legends, as ex-employees Avinash Treebhoowoon and Sandip Moneea were driven inside to observe the jurors’ private visit to the crime scene and other relevant locations.

They were accompanied by judge Mr Justice Prithviraj Fecknah and defence and prosecution lawyers on the half-day exercise at the gated beachside resort in the north of the island at Grand Gaube.

Barristers for both accused had made a joint motion to court requesting that the jury visit take place.

The six men and three women of the jury were shown the since-renumbered room 1025 where the 27-year-old Ballygawley woman was found strangled last January.

They were also taken to the nearby poolside restaurant where she lunched with her husband John before her death.

The prosecution claim she left him there to return to the room to fetch biscuits for her tea and walked in on Treebhoowoon and Moneea stealing. They deny murder.

Police officers patrolled outside the main gate and on the shore line in a bid to ensure no unauthorised people gained access to the hotel during the visit.

The jury were also shown 10 other rooms that have been mentioned during the previous 20 days of the trial and other significant hotel sites and landmarks referred to in court.

Legends was renamed the Lux Hotel following the murder.

State prosecutor Mehdi Manrakhan and defence lawyers Rama Valayden, representing Moneea, and Sanjeev Teeluckdharry, for Treebhoowoon, were in attendance on site.

The jurors, judge, lawyers and associated court officials left the Supreme Court in Port Louis at around 10.30am for the one-hour trip north.

They returned to court in the afternoon when Mr Manrakhan officially closed the case for the prosecution.

Tomorrow will be taken up solely with legal argument in the absence of the jury.

David Young/PA


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