Man charged over Michaela McAreavey case being ‘mistreated’ in custody, lawyer

Dassen Narayanen has been remanded in custody for conspiring to steal from the McAreaveys’ hotel room in Mauritius
Man charged over Michaela McAreavey case being ‘mistreated’ in custody, lawyer

By David Young, PA

A lawyer for a man charged with theft by police investigating the Michaela McAreavey murder has expressed concern about the conditions he is being held under.

Dassen Narayanen, a former security guard at the Legends Hotel where the Co Tyrone teacher was killed while on honeymoon in Mauritius in 2011, was brought before a district magistrate on Wednesday on a count of conspiracy to commit larceny.

Narayanen (37) from Royal Road, Plaine des Papayes on the Indian Ocean island, was remanded in custody charged with conspiring with another hotel employee to steal a magnetic key card to the room then occupied by the McAreaveys to commit larceny.

Michaela Harte found dead
John and Michaela McAreavey during their honeymoon (McAreavey family/PA)

Narayanen’s lawyer, Vikash Teeluckdharry, has described the case against his client as “nonsense” and said he denies any wrongdoing.

On Thursday, he told the PA news agency that his client had been unable to access medication in custody that he has been taking for mental health issues for several years.

Mr Teeluckdharry said Narayanen was being held at a police station in the south of Mauritius despite his family being from the north of the island.

The lawyer said his family did not have the money to pay for the three hour journey on public transport.

The barrister further alleged that the accused had not been provided with a change of clothes since his initial arrest on Tuesday.

“This is the state my client is in at the moment and I have grave concerns,” said Mr Teeluckdharry.

The barrister said he intended to make a bid to get the charge against Narayanen struck out during a bail hearing next week.

He expressed concern that police may be contemplating further charges as he questioned why Mauritius’s Major Criminal Investigation Team (MCIT) was handling a larceny case, when it is supposed to only probe the most serious crimes, such as murder.

Michaela McAreavey case
Dassen Narayanen, appearing at Mapou District Court, in the north of Mauritius, in 2012 (Paul Faith/PA)

After Mrs McAreavey’s killing, Narayanen was initially charged with conspiracy to murder but that was later reduced to a larceny charge.

The larceny charge was struck out in 2013.

Mrs McAreavey, 27, was strangled in her room at the hotel on January 10 2011.

The teacher, who had got married 10 days earlier, was attacked as she returned to her room alone and disturbed a burglary.

No-one has been convicted of murdering the daughter of Gaelic football manager, Mickey Harte.

Two former workers at the luxury resort, Sandip Moneea and Avinash Treebhoowoon, were acquitted of murder after a high-profile trial on the holiday island in summer 2012.

Mrs McAreavey’s widower John has said his legal team in Mauritius is keeping him informed of developments.

Mr McAreavey has pursued a long campaign for justice and in 2017 offered a two million Mauritian rupee (50,000 euro) reward for information leading to a successful conviction.

Police in Mauritius have been approached for comment.

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