Former hotel worker re-arrested in Michaela McAreavey investigation


A former hotel worker acquitted of murdering Irish bride Michaela McAreavey has been re-arrested by Mauritian detectives investigating the case, his lawyers have said.

Mauritius Police have confirmed that Sandeep Mooneea was interviewed by officers examining Ms McAreavey’s case.

Mooneea and another man were found not guilty of the murder after a high-profile trial on the vacation island in the summer of 2012.

Police have not confirmed what alleged offense Mooneea is being questioned about.

Neelkanth Dulloo, Mooneea’s lawyer, told the AP news agency that he was also unaware of the precise basis of the arrest.

Mr Dulloo has also written to the island’s police commissioner expressing his concerns.

He wrote: “I humbly request you, Sir, to submit the present matter to the Honorable Director of Public Prosecutions for an opinion.

“Section 19A does not give the police the power to arrest a person acquitted by the jury unless the hurdles of new and compelling evidence are met to the required level.

“May I remind you that ‘irrefutable evidence’ means evidence that is (a) reliable; (b) substantial and (c) highly probative in the context of the issues at trial. »

A Mauritius Police spokesperson said: “The police investigation is progressing into the Michaela Harte McAreavy case. Mr Sandeep Mooneea has been brought in and is being questioned.

Ms McAreavey, 27, was strangled in her room at the Legends Hotel in Mauritius on January 10, 2011.

Sandeep Mooneea (right) (Paul Faith/PA)

(PA Archive)

The teacher, who had married her husband John 10 days earlier, was attacked as she walked back to her room alone and disturbed a burglary.

No one has been found guilty of murdering the daughter of Gaelic football coach Mickey Harte.

Mooneea and her co-defendant in the 2012 murder trial, Avinash Treebhoowoon, worked as cleaners at the hotel at the time of the murder.

The new development in the case comes weeks after another former hotel employee – former security guard Dassen Narayanen – was charged with theft in connection with the McAreaveys’ room.

Narayanen, 37, of Royal Road, Plaine des Papayes on the Indian Ocean island, was taken into custody for conspiring with another hotel employee to steal a magnetic key card from the room occupied by Mrs. McAreavey and her husband John to commit theft.

He was hospitalized several times during his detention for mental health problems and his lawyer strongly criticized the way he was treated by the police.

John McAreavey has led a long campaign for justice and in 2017 offered a reward of two million Mauritian rupees (50,000 euros) for information leading to a successful conviction.

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