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Monday, July 16, 2012
The family of Michaela McAreavey has labelled the publication of crime scene photographs of her body as "reprehensible" and "a new low" in the treatment of her husband and family.
Mauritius’ Sunday Times, a paper with no connection to any British or Irish company, used images of the hotel room crime scene where Mrs McAreavey was killed.
On the front page there was a photograph of the honeymooner taken after her death — under the headline "exclusive".
Inside there were 11 images of the crime scene, including the hotel room and the bathroom. There are also close up pictures of Mrs McAreavey’s injuries.
The newspaper published 11 black and white crime scene photographs over two pages inside showing:
* A large full-length photo of her body, dressed in a bikini and sarong, lying on the floor;
* Two close-up images of the injuries to her neck;
* Photos of the hotel room where she and her husband, John, were staying;
* Other photos showing the bath where she was strangled, the entrance to the hotel, and the door to the couple’s hotel room.
Taoiseach Enda Kenny and Martin McGuinness, Stormont deputy first minister, condemned the publication of the images yesterday.
The newlywed was killed while on honeymoon with her husband John at the Legends Hotel in Mauritius in January of last year.
Two hotel workers, Avinash Treebhoowon and Sandip Mooneea, were acquitted of the murder last Thursday. Mr Teebhoowon has alleged that police beat him into confessing to the murder.
A two-page feature in the Mauritian paper focusing on police operations asked if the case would prompt the island’s major crimes division to stop its "Gestapo methods of interrogation".
A statement by members of the couple’s family described the actions of the newspaper as "repugnant".
"As the families struggle to come to terms with the result from the trial, this reprehensible and repugnant action by this newspaper is not only insensitive to their grief but it marks another low in the treatment of John, the two families and the dignity of Michaela.
"The Mauritian authorities need now to match their words with actions and ensure that insensitive reporting by newspapers within their jurisdiction does not further exacerbate the violation of Michaela and the hurt to John.
"The families ask for the Irish and British media to be respectful to their feelings if reporting this matter over the coming days."
The Taoiseach described the images as an "affront to human dignity".
"The publication of these images represents an appalling invasion of privacy and is a gross affront to human dignity.
"There are issues of fundamental human rights in question in relation to this deeply upsetting matter. This reprehensible act can only add to the pain and suffering of the McAreavey and Harte families and our thoughts and sympathies are again with them at this time.
"On behalf of the people of Ireland, the Government will be lodging a formal complaint in the strongest possible terms, with the government of Mauritius."
Mr McGuinness said the images had come from within the Mauritian system and could not be justified in any way.
"Just when it seems the system in Mauritius cannot heap anymore pain and anguish on to the McAreavey and Harte families, a local newspaper publishes pictures of Michaela’s body.
"The decision of the newspaper in Mauritius to publish crime scene photo- graphs, including pictures of Michaela’s body, is an outrageous abuse that cannot be justified in anyway.
"People in Mauritius need to realise that the eyes of the international community are firmly focused on their country and their justice system in the wake of the brutal murder of Michaela and the absolute failure to deliver justice for John McAreavey and the rest of family.
"This case will not simply go away as some in Mauritius seem to hope. I can assure the Mauritian authorities that people in Ireland will continue to keep a focus on this case until justice is done," he said.
Last night, defence lawyer Sanjeev Teeluckdharry said the publication of the images in the Sunday Times was "unethical", however he declined to comment on the implications it could have on any future investigation into the murder.
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