herald

Monday 18 December 2017

Key witness shows no signs of distress as he points finger of blame

HE is the man on whom the weight of the prosecution case rests.

But Raj Theekoy appeared untroubled by the enormity of his task as he walked into the Criminal Court of Mauritius to give evidence against his two former colleagues.

This 35-year-old former room attendant at Legends Hotel is the only person to place Avinash Treebhoowoon (31) and Sandip Moneea (42) at the scene of Michaela McAreavey's murder.

His evidence is deemed to be so important to state prosecutors that a charge against him of conspiracy to murder was dropped and he was made immune to prosecution, as long as he told the truth.

He did not look toward his former colleagues as he stood for three hours beside them, detailing the events of January 10, 2011 that led him to believe they had murdered Mrs McAreavey, who was on honeymoon with her husband John.

Mr Theekoy said that at around 1.45pm he was cleaning room 1012 when Treebhoowoon, who was also a room attendant, came in to speak to him.

He said Treebhoowoon told him he still had to clean room 1025, the McAreaveys' room, but there was a 'do not disturb' sign on the door.

As they were talking, Moneea, a floor supervisor, came into the room and asked Treebhoowoon why he was there. Treebhoowoon told Moneea about the 'do not disturb' sign and asked him to phone the room to see if he could go in and clean it, Mr Theekoy claimed.

When Moneea phoned the McAreavey's room there was no response and he told Treebhoowoon to go in and service it. Mr Theekoy told the court that he continued with his work and when he finished at around 2.45pm he went to find Treebhoowoon.

He said that he spotted Treebhoowoon's cleaning trolley outside room 1025, but the door was closed. It is company policy for room attendants to leave the doors of the rooms open while they are cleaning.

"A lady's voice was screaming in pain from room 1025," said Mr Theekoy.

"I heard that scream three times," he said.

Mr Theekoy added: "I was afraid. I thought that maybe there was a quarrel between a husband and wife. I went to room 1021 to wait to see who was going to come out of room 1025." He told the court that after about five minutes he saw Treebhoowoon and Moneea coming out of the room.

Mr Theekoy said when he saw Mrs McAreavey's body he "made the assumption" Treebhoowoon and Moneea had killed her.

hnews@herald.ie

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