THE MAURITIAN NEWSPAPER that published photos of Michaela McAreavey’s body after she was found murdered in her honeymoon hotel room has apologised for its actions.
But the McAreavey and Harte families have rejected the editor’s statement, saying the hurt caused by him over the past 48 hours could not be undone.
The Sunday Times publication said its decision to print the images was not borne out of sensationalism but rather was “to recall that such a heinous crime remained unpunished”.
According to BBC News, the paper’s director General Imran Hosany apologised to both the McAreavey and Harte families, as well as the people and governments of Ireland and Mauritius.
Police raided the newspaper’s offices in Port Louis in search of the photos but nothing was recovered.
In a joint statement, the McAreavey and Harte families said:
As an Editor he made a calculated decision to use photographs and images that no responsible media outlet would have touched. He further exacerbated his actions by printing an inexcusable editorial in a feeble attempt to justify what was wholly unjustifiable.
A spokesperson for the families also called on the paper to tell the police how they obtained the images.
As there is an ongoing police investigation by the Mauritian authorities as to how these distressing crime scene photographs found their way into the hands of this newspaper, if as this man claims, he is fully cooperating with the police, then the best and most obvious form of apology would be to tell them how his newspaper came into receipt of these photographs. This would be a start to taking some degree of personal responsibility.
The Prime Minister of Mauritius issued a statement yesterday to condemn the actions of the weekender. He said the publication of the images showed an “utter lack of respect for and a reckless infliction of further hardship on the bereaved families”.
This act runs counter to the deep attachment of our country and our citizens to family values and respect of those who have lost their beloved ones.
He added that the culprits will be brought to justice and that all steps would be taken to maintain the reputation of the island as a “hospitable and friendly place”.
As Mauritian authorities work to salvage the island’s reputation as a luxury destination, the idea of boycotting the popular location is gaining legs in Ireland. First floated on Twitter as an immediate reaction to the acquittal of two men who were accused of killing the 27-year-old Tyrone woman, the boycott of the island has extended to more than just the ruling out of hypothetical holidays.
A Donegal travel agent has stopped selling Mauritius as a destination, with the owner stating that she “just really didn’t have the stomach” for it anymore.
Speaking to Radio Ulster, Carolyn Davies of Liberty Travel in Letterkenny said, “I was particularly appalled by the way John McAreavey was treated in the aftermath. It was just a decision that we’ve taken and we’re going to stick to it.”
She said that she has received the support from staff and customers, some of whom had asked her about the boycott.
“Whilst I appreciate that you can’t punish the entire nation of Mauritius for this – it can happen anywhere – I do think there are very big questions to be answered,” she continued. “Whilst one little independent travel agent isn’t going to make a difference, I would urge other members of the travel trade to think about it. Everyone has their own choice at the end of the day.”