The Harte and McAreavey families have said the hurt caused by a Mauritian newspaper “cannot be undone”.
The family statement came shortly after the Mauritian Sunday Times newspaper apologised for publishing photographs of Michaela McAreavey’s body after she was found murdered in her hotel room.
Around 12 black and white images of the crime scene were published on Sunday in the newspaper. On the front page there is a photograph of Mrs McAreavey taken after her death – under the headline “Exclusive”.
Inside there are more images of the crime scene, including the hotel room and the bathroom. There are also close-up pictures of Mrs McAreavey’s injuries.
The paper’s director, General Imran Hosany, said the motive was not sensationalism but was “to recall that such a heinous crime remained unpunished”.
However a spokesperson for the family said this morning that damage caused over the last 48 hours couldn’t be reversed and called for the newspaper to disclose the source of the photographs.
“The hurt the newspaper has caused over the past 48 hours cannot be undone.
“As an editor, he made a calculated decision to use photographs and images that no responsible media outlet would have touched.
“He further exacerbated his actions by printing an inexcusable editorial in a feeble attempt to justify what was wholly unjustifiable.”
The families said the best and most obvious form of apology would be to tell police how the newspaper received the photographs.
‘CALLOUS AND UNJUSTIFIABLE’
First Minister Peter Robinson and Deputy First Minister Martin McGuinness said the actions of the Mauritian Sunday Times in publishing the photographs were “callous and unjustifiable”. Irish Taoiseach Enda Kenny also condemned the move.
Earlier this week Mauritian police raided the newspaper offices in Port Louis in search of the photographs.
A statement from Mauritian prime minister Navin Ramgoolam said, “This is a clear illustration of one of the most despicable methods of abuse and breach of the right to freedom of expression.
“It shows an utter lack of respect for and a reckless infliction of further hardship on the bereaved families.
“This act runs counter to the deep attachment of our country and our citizens to family values and respect of those who have lost their beloved ones.”