Three original suspects have had varied experiences since

Three other hotel workers originally charged in connection with Michaela McAreavey’s murder could hardly have had more varied experiences since.

Three original suspects have had varied experiences since

One turned key witness for the prosecution, another is suing the police for more than €550,000. The third is facing court proceedings on a lesser charge.

The latter, Dassen Naraynen, a former security guard at the Legends hotel, has also alleged he was the victim of police brutality.

His was a name that stalked the Supreme Court trial, continually referred to by defence lawyers intent on casting doubt on the evidence against their clients.

During the case he appeared at another court in Mauritius on a provisional charge of conspiracy to commit larceny at Legends.

He rejects any suggestion he was involved with what happened to Mrs McAreavey in Room 1025.

A police officer who gave evidence at the Supreme Court trial told the court Naraynen was not one of the murderers but alleged he had provided the key card that opened the room as part of his role in a widespread racket to steal from guests.

Traces of the security guard’s DNA were found on an unauthorised “dummy”magnetic card that was found in the hotel’s security office in the place where the actual staff card that opened the door of Room 1025 should have been. The card used to gain entry two minutes before Mrs McAreavey has never been located.

A potential genetic match to Naraynen was also found on a cupboard in the bathroom of 1025 that contained a safe. But a DNA expert explained that could have been a chance finding.

Hotel manager Brice Lunot told the jury Naraynen was one of the staff members who had entered the room after Mrs McAreavey had been discovered.

But Legends head of security Mohammad Imrit said Naraynen was spotted on CCTV close to 1025 on the day of the murder and was not supposed to be there.

Giving evidence, room service attendant Ravindradeo Seetohul claimed he saw the security guard standing at the open door of 1025 talking with Avinash Treebhoowon around half-an-hour before Ms McAreavey was killed.

Naraynen was provisionally charged with conspiracy to murder but that was later reduced to the larceny charge.

Another hotel worker provisionally charged with conspiracy to murder was room attendant Raj Theekoy.

He spent 77 days in prison after the honeymooner’s death but the case was finally dropped. He was subsequently granted immunity and went on to appear as a key witness in the state case.

Theekoy told the jury he heard a woman scream from behind the closed door of room 1025 shortly before he saw the two accused exit from that direction.

Mr Theekoy conceded from his viewpoint near 1021 he did not have a clear view, as it was along an L-shaped corridor from 1025. However he claimed he had a view of the defendants’ side profiles when they emerged, with Treebhoowoon turning to face him at one point.

While Mr Theekoy claimed he confronted the pair about what had happened, prompting Sandip Mooneea to threaten him, a barrister for the accused claimed he was actually joking with Treebhoowon in the hotel’s staff canteen an hour after Mrs McAreavey was found strangled in the room.

The third hotel worker detained and provisionally charged with conspiracy to murder was security guard Seenarain Mungroo.

He is attempting to sue the commissioner of police and the state of Mauritius for 20 million rupees (€550,000) for wrongful arrest. During the trial, assistant commissioner of police Yoosoof Soopun explained that Mr Mungroo had been initially implicated by Naraynen.

The officer alleged that Naraynen subsequently changed his account and admitted to stealing the key card that was used to access the room as part of a “widespread conspiracy to commit larceny”.

Of the three, Mr Mungroo is the only one who has since returned to work at Legends.

Sandip Mooneea

A phonecall from Sandip Mooneea to his sister the day Michaela McAreavey died may have been humdrum but it was crucial in proving his innocence.

Having recently returned from his own honeymoon, the newlywed said he called his oldest sibling to check if her children were behaving and whether her diabetic husband was in good health.

If the details of the conversation were open to challenge by the prosecution, the timing was not.

The four-minute call was made just after 2.45pm — the time Mrs McAreavey was supposedly strangled.

For his defence team, this was evidence the 43-year-old had been accused of a crime he could not have committed.

The former factory worker moved to England in 1999 and lived there for five years, albeit illegally after his six-month tourist visa expired. He had intended to stay but when he re-applied for a visa, it was not granted and he returned home.

Back in Mauritius he briefly moved into the family home in Rose Belle, a village in the south-east of the island.

He had gone to primary school there before going on to study at Mauritian form-five college, leaving at the age of 16.

Mooneea, who speaks good English but has a slight stammer, insisted his time at the hotel was a positive one until his arrest.

“I never got into a problem with anyone,” he claimed.

He was a floor supervisor responsible for the four deluxe accommodation blocks. He was in charge of five room attendants, though not always the same ones.

His wife Reka was an outspoken advocate for her husband.

Throughout the trial the government worker sat intently in the fourth row of the public gallery — the one past which the defendants shuffled to and from the dock — taking copious notes on proceedings.

She was ever-present for the first four weeks but when her leave from work ran out she attended when she could, working early and late shifts to allow her time to be in court.

The couple were married on Dec 5, 2010 — three-and-a-half weeks before the McAreaveys.

Both husband and wife insist they are devout Hindus. It was a fact she wouldstress time and again when protesting his innocence.

On Mondays — the day Mrs McAreavey was killed — both say they fast in devotion to the god Shiva.

Since the day of his arrest 18 months ago, it has been prison food Mooneea has been abstaining from on his holy day.

Avinash Treebhoowon

Avinash Treebhoowon was tortured into confessing to a murder he did notcommit by a police force in a hurry to find someone to blame.

The jury’s not guilty verdict showed they believed the cleaner’s insistence that a detailed admission statement produced three days after Michaela McAreavey’s death, which bore his signature, was a mere fabrication.

Relief at being spared a potential 60-year jail term will be tempered withanger that he has been incarcerated for the past 18 months on what jurorsevidently concluded was a tissue of lies invented by detectives.

The 32-year-old will now attempt to restart his life, still on medication forthe nightmares he claims he has about the officers who beat him into signing.

He had been working at Legends hotel for almost five years when MrsMcAreavey was murdered last January.

As a room attendant he was paid 7,800 Mauritian rupees a month — about €200.

It was during that time he met his wife Reshma, who used to be a salesassistant. They married in 2009.

She was present at court throughout the trial, the orange streak through herhair a symbol of love for her husband.

A potential defence witness, for six weeks she maintained a quiet vigil on abench outside Courtroom 5, unable to attend proceedings. However, each morning she would spend a few moments with him before court began.

When her husband’s lawyers decided not to call her to give evidence, she wasfinally able to sit and listen to the trial’s concluding phases.

Mr Treebhoowon grew up in a small village in the north of the island and leftschool early and without qualifications.

Prior to Legends he worked in another hotel — the Meridien — and had worked as a lorry driver and in one of the country’s many textile factories.

At the time of the murder he was one of five room attendants working under the supervision of his co-accused Sandip Mooneea. His day began at 7.15am and he would work to 4pm.

One of those he worked with was Raj Theekoy, a man he considered a friend but one who would go on to implicate him in the murder.

Mr Treebhoowon claims he does not have great command of English. An interpreter had to explain proceedings throughout the trial.

Up until two weeks before the murder, he and his wife had lived at his parents’house in Amaury, a rural village in the centre north of the island.

There he spoke a language of Indian origin, Bhojpuri.

His father Sooriedeo is a 52-year-old labourer who cannot read or write.

To read more on the Michaela McAreavey murder trial, click here

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