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Dublin: 9 °C Wednesday 3 September, 2014

Govt to make formal complaint over pictures of Michaela crime scene

Pictures from the crime scene where Michaela McAreavey was killed last year have been published in a Mauritian newspaper today with the Taoiseach saying that a formal complaint will now be made to the Mauritian government.

Image: RTÉ/PA

THE GOVERNMENT IS to lodge a formal complaint with the government of Mauritius after the publication of images of the hotel room crime scene where Michaela McAreavey was killed last year.

The ‘Sunday Times’ newspaper in Mauritius has, according to RTÉ, published 12 black and white images of the crime scene with a front page photograph of Michaela’s body taken after her death.

Inside the paper, which has no affiliation with the Sunday Times newspaper in Ireland and the UK, there are said to be more images of the crime scene which includes the hotel room where the Tyrone woman was staying with her husband John and the bathroom where her body was found.

Taoiseach Enda Kenny said the actions of the paper were a “reprehensible” coming just days after two men on trial for Michaela’s murder were acquitted following a lengthy and controversial court case in Port Louis, Mauritius.

“The publication of these images represents an appalling invasion of privacy and is a gross affront to human dignity.  There are issues of
fundamental human rights in question in relation to this deeply upsetting matter,” Kenny said in a statement.

“This reprehensible act can only add to the pain and suffering of the McAreavey and Harte families and our thoughts and sympathies are again with them at this time.”

Kenny said that on behalf of the people of Ireland the government would be lodging a formal complaint “in the strongest possible terms” with the government of Mauritius.

Speaking on the This Week programme on RTÉ Radio earlier, Jobs and Enterprise Minister Richard Bruton said that he was “appalled” by the actions of the newspaper.

“I know the desolation that this family has been through and I think this is beyond all realms of legitimate public interest to be fundamentally invading the human rights of this family,” he said.

“I’ve spoken to the Taoiseach before I came on air and he’s equally just flabbergasted and flattened here. The government will be assessing what action we can take to seek to protect the family.

“The whole conduct of this affair from the start has not inspired confidence and I think the family have been treated in an appalling way and I think rarely have I been so inspired by the courage, the humanity and the faith of a family in the face of such tragedy.

“To find that this is the way that they’ve been treated and abused, it really is beyond belief.”

In a statement on RTÉ, the McAreavey family said that the latest development “marks another low in the treatment of John, the two families and the dignity of Michaela”.

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