THE family of Michaela McAreavey has called on the editor of the Sunday Times newspaper in Mauritius to tell police where he got the pictures of the murder scene which were published in his paper at the weekend.
The families were responding to an apology from the paper’s director, Imraan Hosany. The paper published 12 images of the scene at the Legends hotel room where Michaela and John were honeymooning in January 2011.
The pictures included some of Michaela’s body and close-ups of her injuries. The publication was strongly criticised this week for adding to the hurt and suffering already heaped upon the 27-year-old schoolteacher’s family following the eight-week trial of two men who were last week acquitted of her murder.
Responding to Mr Hosany’s insistence that the pictures were not published for “sensationalist” purposes, but instead to “remind people that the crime has remained unpunished” and “show the scene of violence”, Michaela’s family called ofr him to follow through on his words.
They said the hurt caused in the past 48 hours cannot be undone, but added that if Mr Hosany’s words are genuine he will reveal where he got the pictures from and help police with their enquiries.
Northern Ireland’s First Minister Peter Robinson and Deputy First Minister Martin McGuinness have said the actions of the paper in publishing the photographs were “callous and unjustifiable”.
Mr McGuinness said he will travel to London on Thursday to complain to the Mauritian commissioner.
The Prime Minister’s office on the island said yesterday, “ Government has taken cognizance of the outrageous publication in the issue of 15 July 2012 of a Sunday newspaper of the photographs of the dead body of Mrs Michaela Harte. This is a clear illustration of one of the most despicable methods of abuse and breach of the right to freedom of expression.
“It shows 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.
“It is a matter of deep regret that whilst the authorities, within our democratic legal framework, have throughout been taking all possible steps to bring the culprits to justice and maintain the reputation of our country as a hospitable and friendly place, some isolated and unscrupulous individuals in the media, for the sake of an irresponsible sense of sensationalism, are doing everything to harm the image of our country and that of its law abiding citizens.
“Government has referred the matter to the competent authorities.”