Bride murdered on Mauritius honeymoon 'fought for her life'

A BRIDE murdered while on honeymoon in Mauritius fought for her life before she was strangled, investigators said yesterday.

Teacher Michaela McAreavey, the daughter of Tyrone Gaelic football manager Mickey Harte, was found dead in her hotel room by her new husband. The couple married less than two weeks ago.

As police in Mauritius questioned six potential suspects about the death, officers on the island yesterday revealed how the 27-year-old had tried to save herself from an intruder who used a magnetic key to get into her hotel room.

A senior officer said: "The victim fought for her life. There was a struggle in the room."

A post mortem examination revealed that she had been strangled. She was found dead in the bathtub by her new husband, Down senior Gaelic footballer John McAreavey.

His brother and Michaela's brother Mark were on their way to the island yesterday and the family hope to have the body returned by the weekend.

Supt Yoosoof Soopun of the Mauritius Police Force said: "We are confident of a positive result today."

He said Mr McAreavey was in the restaurant of the hotel when his wife was murdered and police had ruled him out as a suspect.

"She had gone back to the room to get some biscuits to put in her tea and, when she failed to return, her husband went to look for her," he said. "When he found her in the room, she had been killed. She was already dead.

"A post mortem showed she was strangled, she died from neck compression."

Mr Soopun said the killer used an electronic key card to enter the room: "There was no forced entry. Whoever killed her definitely used an electronic card."

He added: "This is being viewed with much concern by the police and government of Mauritius. We are doing everything we can."

A member of staff at the four-star Legends Hotel, who went to the room to try to revive the young teacher, later consoled her husband as he made a statement to police.

Afterwards the staff member said: "John is far from home, far from his family and in a country where he does not know anybody. I am just here to provide as much help as I can. He needs support."

The couple were on the second leg of their honeymoon after flying out to Dubai.

An official from the Irish Embassy in Pretoria, South Africa, was due to arrive at the resort yesterday to assist Mr McAreavey.

The hotel is in the centre of the fishing village of Grand Gaube, not far from Grand Bay in the north-eastern corner of the island. The couple were due to leave on Sunday.