Ex-hotel worker charged by police investigating Michaela McAreavey case
A former hotel worker acquitted of murdering Irish bride Michaela McAreavey has been remanded in Mauritius after appearing in court on charges of robbery in connection with the case.
Sandip Moneea, 52, appeared in court on the Indian Ocean island on Wednesday on charges of conspiracy to commit theft in connection with the McAreaveys’ hotel room.
Last month, another former hotel employee – former security guard Dassen Narayanen – was charged with the same offence.
Moneea, of School Lane, Petit Raffray and Narayanen are accused of conspiring to steal a magnetic key card from the bedroom occupied by Mrs McAreavey and her husband to commit theft.
Ms McAreavey, 27, was strangled in her room at the Legends Hotel in Mauritius on January 10, 2011.
The teacher, who had married her husband John 10 days earlier, was attacked after returning to her room alone and disturbing a burglary.
No one has been found guilty of murdering the daughter of Gaelic football coach Mickey Harte.
Moneea’s lawyer, Neelkanth Dulloo, told the PA news agency he believed the police had been mistaken in their approach.
“This is a hopeless case for them and we will ensure that the rule of law is upheld,” he said.
“The police are under pressure from higher quarters. They are making the same mistakes as 11 years ago.
Narayanen, 37, of Royal Road, Plaine des Papayes, was taken into police custody in March.
Moneea and another man were found not guilty of Ms McAreavey’s murder after a high-profile trial on the holiday island in the summer of 2012.
He always denied wrongdoing
Moneea and her co-defendant in the murder trial, Avinash Treebhoowoon, worked as cleaners in the hotel at the time of the murder.
Narayanen, who has denied wrongdoing, was repeatedly hospitalized for mental health issues while in custody and his lawyer criticized the way he was treated by police.
Lawyer Vikash Teeluckdharry wrote to Mauritius Prime Minister Pravind Jugnauth on Tuesday setting out 10 specific concerns about his client’s detention.
The letter, seen by the PA news agency, said: “I fervently call for your intervention to better protect the integrity of criminal proceedings in Mauritius, particularly police proceedings in the absence of modern safeguards, which are available in more advanced countries like Britain.
Mr. Teeluckdharry raised other concerns about the handling of the overall investigation. He said he would send a copy of the letter to Northern Ireland Justice Minister Naomi Long.
Mauritius police have previously denied abusing Narayanen in police custody.