Northern Ireland news

John McAreavey: I take inspiration from Doreen Lawrence in pursuit of justice for Michaela

John McAreavey has called for a retrial of the two men acquitted of his late wife Michaela's murder in 2011. Picture by Charles Chan/PA Wire
John Monaghan

JOHN McAreavey has vowed to continue the search for justice for his late wife Michaela and said he takes inspiration from Doreen Lawrence, citing her as an example that it "can be done, if you are prepared to stay the course".

Michaela McAreavey, the daughter of Tyrone GAA boss Mickey Harte, was murdered in the couple's hotel room during their honeymoon in Mauritius in January 2011.

Mr McAreavey has called for the two men who were acquitted following a trial in 2012, hotel workers Avinash Treebhoowoon and Sandip Moneea, to appear in court again.

"I just have to continue to think there is an opportunity to get justice because Michaela deserves that. It's the least of what she deserves," Mr McAreavey said.

John McAreavey with his late wife Michaela, who was murdered during the couple's honeymoon in Mauritius in 2011. Picture by PA

He hopes that the Irish government will put pressure on Mauritian authorities to order a retrial.

Speaking about his recent criticism of the news that Premier League champions Liverpool FC have linked up with Mauritius as its official tourism and economic development partner, he added: "Whatever I seem to say on Twitter regarding Michaela's case does get over there. So, I know what I am doing. I know that I have to press the right buttons. It's a very useful platform."

Almost a decade on from the murder, he described his emotions at the loss of his wife, and outlined how it had taken a physical toll.

"Stress hormones in my body would have really broken me down over the years. Very bad stomachs, actually making you physically sick. People talk about stress, they say 'stress is a killer' and sometimes it's an off-the-cuff remark, but it actually is.

John McAreavey has said he takes inspiration from Doreen Lawrence, whose son's killers were jailed 18 years after his murder. Picture by Margaret McLaughlin

"What I did learn was that I had to own my grief. I had to feel every inch of it. I didn't want to be three or four years down the line having blocked everything out and then have all of these unprocessed feelings," he told the Sunday Independent.

"I really wanted to feel the depths of those lows - and God they were low."

He added: "I was very, very thankful for everything I had with Michaela...and I suppose, I am an eternal optimist and so hope starts to creep back in and you eventually start to experience the good again."

He said his sister, Claire, made contact with Doreen Lawrence, the mother of Stephen, who was murdered in a racially motivated attack in London in 1993. His killers were found guilty 18 years later following a campaign by Doreen and her husband Neville.

He said: "The biggest thing that she communicated was the level of patience required and to understand that it's going to take time."

Mr McAreavey said he has been approached by "God knows how many" film makers seeking to make a programme about the murder.

While he said he would "never say never to anything that could help", he added: "I guess the only way I would contemplate something like that would be to ask, does this help or hinder? You would be very much opening yourself up. Would it be worth that? I don't know. I have to have consideration for my wife (he married Tara Brennan in 2016) and family so I don't know."

"I owe it to Michaela to fight to the very last."

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