3 held over Mauritius honeymoon murder

2011-01-12 12:27

Port Louis - Three valets at Mauritius' Legends hotel were being held by police Wednesday over the death of the daughter of a top Irish sports personality who was strangled whilst on honeymoon, police said.

Police said the three are the last people to have been in contact with Michaela McAreavey before her death on Monday.

The death has rocked Ireland - the 27-year-old teacher and former beauty queen was the daughter of Tyrone Gaelic football boss Mickey Harte, one of Ireland's best-known sporting figures.

Computer records from the victim's hotel room show that someone entered the room two minutes before she did, police sources involved in the investigation said on Wednesday.

Police forensic expert Harish Baichoo told reporters "asphyxia due to compression of the neck" was the cause of Michaela McAreavey's death on Monday.

Her brother Mark Harte and the brother of bridegroom John McAreavey are expected to arrive on the Indian Ocean island around midday, police and Mauritius government sources said.

Her father, Mickey Harte is expected to arrive on Thursday, according to the same sources.

Guilty parties

Mauritius Tourism Minister Nando Bodha, who on Tuesday called the crime unprecedented, said the government would do everything in its power to help the family members.

"Mauritius is a country where the rule of law exists and we have every confidence that the police and the judiciary will track down and punish the guilty parties," he told AFP.

Mauritius, a volcanic island surrounded by coral reefs and lagoons, is best known for top-end tourism and as a honeymoon destination. It welcomes some 950 000 tourists per year.

John McAreavey is a nephew of Bishop John McAreavey of the Catholic diocese of Dromore in Northern Ireland.

Michaela McAreavey taught Irish and was a former contestant in Ireland's popular Rose of Tralee beauty pageant.

Gaelic football is the most popular sport in Ireland and many players and managers are celebrities.