Michaela’s family to sue hotel for €1.6m

Relatives of murdered honeymooner Michaela McAreavey are to sue the Mauritius hotel where she was strangled for €1.625m.

Dick Ng Sui Wa, who represented Ms McAreavey’s husband John at the trial of two men for her killing, confirmed on Mauritian radio yesterday that the action will begin in the island’s Supreme Court on Nov 15.

He also said the Harte and McAreavey families want the majority of any compensation awarded to go to a charity foundation bearing the Tyrone teacher’s name, dedicated to helping children in need.

The basis for the case will be the claim that the hotel failed to provide a safe place for Mrs McAreavey to stay.

According to reports over the weekend, John McAreavey’s claim includes almost €1m for loss of earnings which his wife could have expected to make over her working life in her job as a teacher. He also wants to be reimbursed for the flights for his and new wife’s honeymoon as well as his flights for the trial at the start of the summer. For each journey, he is claiming almost €10,000. Furthermore, he is pursuing €22,000 for funeral and burial expenses and almost €31,000 for legal fees.

The young woman’s parents are claiming over €60,000 each for “moral damages” and her three brothers are each claiming over €30,000.

It is believed John McAreavey and his wife’s parents will travel for the case.

The general manager at the hotel, Brice Lunot, declined to comment.

“We have not yet received official notification of the case so it is too early to comment at this stage,” he said.

The 27-year-old newlywed, who was the only daughter of Tyrone Gaelic football boss Mickey Harte, was found dead in her luxury room at the exclusive Legends Hotel on the holiday island in Jan 2011. The hotel has since been renamed Lux.

This summer’s trial of two hotel workers accused of the crime heard that Mrs McAreavey had momentarily left her husband John at a poolside restaurant to return to the room to fetch biscuits when she was attacked.

Former Legends employees Sandip Moneea and Avinash Treebhoowoon were found not guilty of her murder by jurors at the island’s Supreme Court in July.

A new investigation into the killing has seen a number of people interviewed and fresh DNA taken from the room where the young woman died. For a number of weeks, it has been speculated that police are close to making another arrest, with a hotel employee the prime suspect.

However, that arrest has so far not materialised and it is believed that is because investigators are still awaiting the results of the forensic evidence that has been gathered.

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