| 10.2°C Dublin

Michaela murder suspect to be freed on bail

A HOTEL worker suspected of killing Michaela McAreavey during her honeymoon in Mauritius is expected to walk free by the end of the year.

A Supreme Court judge has ruled that Avinash Treebohowon (30) should be released on bail, in light of severe delays in the murder trial.

This development comes after the Herald revealed that evidence in the case was ignored by Mauritian police.

It is believed that Michaela (27) was attacked on January 10, when she returned to her honeymoon suite at the Legends Hotel to fetch some biscuits.

They think that she caught thieves in her room, who panicked and strangled her before placing her in the bathtub.

Last month, it emerged that hairs found in the bathtub of the honeymoon suite were never sent for DNA analysis.

Today, the Herald has learned that biscuits found in the hotel room were never collected by the investigating team.

Although they may have been in the hands of her alleged killers, these items were never assigned any exhibit number according to records which the Herald has seen.

It has also emerged that the biscuits and Lindor chocolates Michaela went to fetch were purchased in Dubai.

The former teacher from Tyrone and her husband, John visited there before going on to Mauritius.



Concerns

A number of inconsistencies have raised serious concerns about the investigation, notably the lack of DNA and CCTV.

Last January, detectives claimed that the two murder suspects, Treebohowon and floor supervisor Sandip Moneea (41), were linked to the crime by CCTV footage.

However, during their preliminary hearing last summer, a court was told that there was no CCTV footage relevant to the case and that the forensic report, done by Cellmark Forensic Services in Oxfordshire, UK, found no traces of Moneea or Treebohowon's DNA on items provided by the police.

The only person that was partly linked to the scene of the crime was Dassen Narayanen (26), who worked as a security officer on the premises and discovered Michaela's body.

Dassen was previously charged with conspiracy to murder but this was reduced to conspiracy to larceny after a dummy card with his DNA was found in the Irish couple's suite.

The main piece of evidence against Moneea and Treebohowon is the latter's alleged confession to the killing.

However, Treebohowon's lawyers have insisted that the confession was not valid as their client was tortured.

A District Court magistrate nonetheless ruled that there is enough evidence for them to be tried at the Supreme Court.

hnews@herald.ie