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John McAreavey outside the Supreme Court in Port Louis, Mauritius during the murder trial Nicholas Larche/PA Wire

Michaela McAreavey trial verdict: two accused found not guilty

Sandip Moonea and Avinash Treebhoowoon were acquited by the nine-member jury of killing the 27-year-old on her honeymoon in Mauritius.

THE TWO MEN accused of killing 27-year-old teacher Michaela McAreavey on her honeymoon have been found not guilty by a court in Mauritius.

The nine members of the jury acquitted both men of murder after just over two hours of deliberation. The decision was unanimous.

The jury said it had not been convinced by the prosecution of the guilt of Avinash Treebhoowon, 31,  and Sandeep Moonea, 42, over the course of the eight-week trial.

The verdict was welcomed by an loud outburst of joy from relatives of the two accused men. Members of the McAreavey and Harte families who were present in the courtroom left as soon as the verdict was announced.

The two former hotel workers had been accused of killing Michaela McAreavey in her hotel room in January 2011 while she was on her honeymoon with her husband John.

The judge had instructed the jury that they had to deliberate for at least two hours before reaching a verdict.

The jury had also been told that to focus on the facts on the case rather than coming to a verdict on the actions of the police during the case.

Sandip Moonea (in striped shirt) and Avinash Treebhoowon (in pale pink shirt) being brought to court by officers during the trial. (Photo: Paul Faith/PA Wire)

Devastation, desolation: The McAreavey and Harte families’ reaction to verdict>

Full coverage of the Michaela McAreavey trial >

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Ajai Daby in Mauritius
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