Husband accompanies murdered bride on her final journey home

The family of murdered Mauritius honeymooner Michaela McAreavey accompanied her on a final journey home yesterday.

Her husband John was on the flight into Belfast that brought his wife of just 12 days back in her coffin. He wore her engagement and wedding rings on a chain around his neck.

Mrs McAreavey, 27, was strangled in their hotel room on Monday. Police suspect she interrupted thieves in her room taking money from a purse.

Three men have been charged in connection with the death and yesterday officers said the alleged killers were hiding in her room when she went in.

The victim was the daughter of Tyrone Gaelic football manager Mickey Harte and his wife Marian.

A private wake and family service was planned last night for immediate family.

Police said that after strangling her, two hotel staff allegedly went back to work as if nothing had happened. The horror was outlined in the confession statement of one of the suspected killers – room attendant Avinash Treebhoowoon, 29.

Treebhoowoon claimed he jumped behind the honeymooners' bed when he heard someone at the door. He said he and his co-accused, floor supervisor Sandip Moneea, 41, had been in the room to steal the couple's valuables. They had spotted a purse with cash in it while cleaning the day before.

He alleged that after grappling with the bride, he held her down while Moneea strangled her. Moneea has not made any statement of admission to the police.

It is understood Treebhoowoon admitted the crime to officers after a third accused and fellow room attendant Raj Theekoy, 33, made a statement implicating him and Moneea.

Theekoy is charged with conspiracy because he allegedly passed along the corridor outside while the struggle was taking place but, despite hearing screams, did nothing to stop it and failed to report it.