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Murder inquiry launched in Mauritius

Police in Mauritius have launched a murder inquiry following the death of Irish woman Michaela Harte while on honeymoon, RTE reports.

Harte, daughter of Tyrone football manager Mickey Harte, was found dead in her room at the Legends Hotel in the village of Grand Gaube.

Police say an autopsy carried out this morning determined that the 27-year-old had been strangled.

Detectives have a list of at least six suspects that they intend to bring in for questioning later.

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Superintendent Yussuf Soopun of the Major Crime Unit in Mauritius said Michaela's husband John McAreavey was not one of those suspects.

Soopun said McAreavey was in the restaurant of the hotel when his wife was murdered.

'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. He tried to help her but she was already dead.'

Soopun said the killer had used an electronic key card to enter the room.

He said: 'There was no forced entry into the room. Whoever killed her definitely used an electronic card.'

Harte had married the Down footballer on 30 December.

She taught Irish at St Patrick's Girls Academy in Dungannon and was a former Ulster Rose of Tralee.

Michaela was the only daughter of Mickey and Marian Harte. She had three brothers, Mark, Michael and Matthew.

Mark Harte and a member of the McAreavey family are expected to fly out to the Indian Ocean island today.

An official from the Irish Embassy in Pretoria in South Africa is to arrive in Mauritius today to assist Mr McAreavey.

Bishop of Dromore John McAreavey, who married the teacher to his nephew, said the young footballer was devastated.

' She was the love of his life, absolutely and truly. He adored her and talked about her with such warmth,' he said.

'He loved everything about her: her faith, her personality, her love for things Gaelic and Irish, her sparkle. I have a sense that a light has gone out with the death of Michaela.'

Northern Ireland First Minister Peter Robinson and Deputy First Minister Martin McGuinness passed on their condolences.

Robinson said: 'It was with deep sadness that I learnt of the death of Michaela Harte. I would like to pass my deepest condolences to her husband John, her father Mickey and to all of her family.'

McGuinness said: 'Just a matter of days ago it was a joyous occasion when Michaela married John (McAreavey) and no doubt they planned a long and happy life together.

' They had so much to live for but now their hopes have been cruelly dashed by the tragic death of Michaela.'

Pupils at St Patrick's Academy in Dungannon have been signing a book of condolence for their teacher.

St Patrick's Academy principal Fintan Donnelly described her as a 'vibrant and popular teacher' who was an inspiration and example to her students.

 

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