John McAreavey talked to murder accused hours before Michaela death




John McAreavey came face-to-face with the man accused of murdering his wife in the hours before she was found dead, he told a court in Mauritius.

He was only feet from defendant Avinash Treebhoowoon at the Supreme Court in Port Louis today as he recalled talking with the cleaner outside his room at the Legends Hotel last January while his wife was changing inside.

State prosecutor Mehdi Manrakhan asked Mr McAreavey if he could identify the employee again.

"Yes," he replied pointing directly at Treebhoowoon in the dock, "it's that man there in the white shirt."

Treebhoowoon and fellow Legends staff member Sandip Moneea deny strangling Michaela McAreavey in her room at Legends.

Mr McAreavey told the trial that before lunch on the day his wife died he had gone back to the room to see her.

"On the approach to my room I could see a valet (Treebhoowoon)," he said. "As I was going up to my room he asked me was it OK to go and clean.

"I said: 'Would you give us five minutes?' so I knocked on the door."

Mr McAreavey said he had forgot his key card so his wife had to let him in.

He said he emerged minutes later to be confronted by the valet once more as his wife was getting ready to go to the pool.

"He asked me could he go clean the room again, which I thought was a bit strange because he asked me twice.

"So I said 'Yes, give me two minutes' and then we left and went to the pool."

The newlyweds lunched at a pool beside the hotel's Banyon restaurant after a morning which saw him take a golf lesson and his wife sunbathe and read.

"Both of us just got into the pool and swam around and just had fun in the pool for, I'm sure it was about one hour," he said.

"By this stage we were getting a bit hungry so we decided to have some lunch because we were very close to the Banyon restaurant.

"I was able to call one of the waiters over from the pool and he brought us over a couple of menus so we ordered some lunch and gave the menus back to the waiter."

Mr McAreavey said he and his wife ordered chicken curry.

"We were in the pool and thought it was great that you could order your lunch from pool side," he continued.

"We just kept swimming, the waiter returned and told us our food was ready about 15 minutes later, it was quite quick.

"We left the pool and went to the poolside, just got dried off and at this restaurant it was an outdoor picnic-type table."

Mr McAreavey then outlined the events that saw his wife make the fateful journey back to room 1025.

"We both had our lunch and with any meal Michaela would always have tea and a biscuit so she ordered tea from the waiter and then she went to go to the room to get, I remember, a dark chocolate Kit Kat.

"I told her I would run to the room, it was very close, but she said: 'No, no, it's OK', she would go herself.

"The evening before, we were in the main reception over at the restaurant and Michaela was having tea again and having a biscuit and I said I will go back to the room, which was a long enough distance, but I didn't mind.

"Because of that I assume she didn't want me running round the whole time but I obviously wish she had let me go to the room."

Mr McAreavey said he played on his mobile phone while he waited for her to return.

"I just sat at the table, took a couple of photos on my phone and watched a bit of a video I had on my phone as well. Just waiting for Michaela to return."

He added: "At that stage Michaela's tea was getting very cold and I was thinking 'where is she?', so I left the table and walked over to the room and I knocked on the room and said 'Michaela', and I couldn't hear anything so I went around the side to the double sliding door (in front of the beach) and tried to look in."

Mr McAreavey told the court that he then returned to the pool to check if he had a key card in his bag, before deciding to go to reception to ask if they could let him in.

A bellboy accompanied him back to room 1025 and opened the door on his worst nightmare.

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