herald

Saturday 16 December 2017

Gaps appear in testimony of key hotel death witness

GAPS were today appearing in the evidence from the room attendant who claims he saw the two men accused of the murder of Michaela McAreavey leave her room moments before she was found fatally injured.

Raj Theekoy is the key prosecution witness, with much of the case relying on his testimony, and was under cross-examination today at the murder trial today.

He had told the court that he saw both accused, fellow room attendant Avinash Treebhoowhoon (31) and supervisor Sandip Moonea (42), leave the Michaela and husband John McAreavey's room moments before she was found.

He also the court that he heard Michaela scream three times shortly beforehand.

Both Treebhoowhoon and Moonea have pleaded not guilty to Michaela's murder on January 10, 2011.

She was on honeymoon with her husband John at the Legends Hotel on the island.

Under cross-examination by defence counsel for Moonea, it was put to Mr Theekoy that he said in his statement that he never went to the staff canteen of the hotel to have tea on the afternoon of January 10

However, the court was told that CCTV footage shows that Theekoy did go to the canteen at 15.43 to have tea.

He was in the company of the accused, Avinash Treebhoowhoon, and the pair were spotted in the canteen by a number of staff at the hotel.

When being cross-examined by defence counsel for Treebhoowhoon, they referred to Mr Theekoy's statement and the three screams he alleges he heard come from the McAreavey's room.

Hotel regulations, said counsel, stipulate that staff members must come to the aid of guests when such a situation arises and also inform security. This was not done.

They also questioned what food he had while in custody. Mr Theekoy originally claimed he had fried rice and Coca Cola.

However, a logbook from the MCIT states a constable gave him chicken, bread and tea.

The court was also told that Theekoy had to leave a previous place of employment after a small bottle of wine from the hotel was found in his bag.

The court heard he spent 77 days in police custody after Michaela's death.

Cross-examination of Mr Theekoy continued today.

hnews@herald.ie

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