The body of Michaela Harte, a 27-year-old teacher and former Rose of Tralee contestant, was found by her new husband, Down senior footballer John McAreavey, in their bedroom in the luxurious Legends Hotel at about 4pm Mauritian time (midday Irish time). The couple had arrived there on Sunday having been married in Tyrone on December 30 and having travelled through Dubai.
It is believed Ms Harte went upstairs to rest and make a cup of tea but when she failed to reappear, Mr McAreavey became concerned and went looking for her.
A porter was nearby when he discovered her in their room.
A second member of staff was then summoned. He went straight to the room and immediately tried to resuscitate the young teacher for half an hour by giving her mouth-to-mouth and heart massage.
The young woman’s family were informed of the death at approximately 1pm yesterday afternoon and afterwards a joint statement was issued on behalf of Mickey Harte and Bishop of Dromore John McAreavey who married the couple and is the groom’s uncle.
In that statement they said they had received confirmation that Michaela had been “killed” in Mauritius. Later Bishop McAreavey told the media they did not know what had happened but she may have been the victim of a crime carried out by someone outside the families.
“We have fears that that is what happened. We have still so many unanswered questions,” he said.
However, Mauritian police said there was no sign that an intruder had been in the room, nothing untoward had been found but that investigations were continuing.
A spokeswoman for Legends Hotels said: “We have had an accident here at the hotel. We have had one death. There is an investigation under way. The hotel management is giving all its support to the police.”
A postmortem was due to be carried out on Ms Harte’s body at 9am Mauritian time this morning (5am Irish time).
Staff from the Department of Foreign Affairs in Dublin have been in touch with the authorities in Mauritius to find out what happened and an official from the Irish Embassy in Pretoria, South Africa, is expected to arrive there today.
Ms Harte’s death is the third tragedy to hit the Tyrone team in the space of the last 14 years.
In 1997 player Paul McGirr died after sustaining a fatal injury and in 2004, Tyrone captain Cormac McAnallen died suddenly.