A FORMER bellboy who was one of the first people to arrive at the scene of Michaela McAreavey’s murder in Mauritius has been interviewed by detectives leading a new inquiry into the Irish woman’s killing.
Rajiv Bhujun, a former employee at Legends Hotel in Mauritius, had made a statement to police. However he was said to be abroad and out of contact when he was called to give evidence earlier this year at the trial of two room cleaners accused of murdering Ms McAreavey (27).
According to an Irish Times
report he was working on a cruise ship at the time.
Avinash Treebhoowoon and Sandip Moneea were unanimously acquitted after an eight-week trial, and a new investigation into the death of the teacher from Co Tyrone began last month.
The trial heard that Mr Bhujun arrived at the murder scene when Ms McAreavey’s husband John screamed for help after finding his wife’s body.
The bellboy had just moments earlier opened the door of the bedroom, as Mr McAreavey did not have a key.
Mr Bhujun gave a statement to police after the killing, but he left the country before the trial to take up a job on a cruise ship. Members of his family told The Irish Times in June that he was willing to return to the island to assist the inquiry.
A police spokesman said Mr Bhujun returned to Mauritius in recent days and presented himself at a police station in the capital Port Louis for questioning on Wednesday.
Mr Bhujun’s statement on the events of January 10th last year – the day of the killing – broadly tallied with evidence from other witnesses, but it is understood he suggested a back door leading from the McAreaveys’ room to a beach-facing terrace may have been open when he entered the room. A number of other witnesses said they believed that door was closed.
Heard No Response
Ms McAreavey was strangled in the room after she returned to fetch some biscuits. She and her husband were on their honeymoon, having been married for just two weeks.
The trial heard that when Ms McAreavey did not return to the poolside restaurant where the couple had had lunch, Mr McAreavey knocked on the door of their room and heard no response. He went to the reception desk to ask for a key and Mr Bhujun accompanied him to the room to let him in.
The former bellboy was listed as a prosecution witness at the trial, but a barrister for the state told the court he could not be tracked down despite extensive efforts by the police.
Under intense pressure to solve the crime, the Mauritian authorities reacted to the two acquittals by establishing a new inquiry.
It is being led by detectives who are not attached to the major crime investigation team, the unit that was accused of mistreating one of the defendants and making errors that undermined the original inquiry.
Acting on criticism of the failure by police to take DNA samples from a number of witnesses, officers have in recent weeks been carrying out tests on staff at the hotel. The trial heard that unidentified DNA was found on a number of items in the room where Ms McAreavey was killed.