The arrest of former hotel security guard Dassen Narayanen in Mauritius on Tuesday ended the 2011 murder Michaela McAreavey back in the limelight.
What does this mean for the new investigation into her murder and are Mauritian detectives any closer to solving the mystery of what happened in room 1025 of the Legends Hotel more than a decade ago?
Since 2021, a team led by the Deputy Police Commissioner has been tasked with re-examining the original investigation into the murder.
Investigators arrested Narayanen Tuesday in connection with inconsistencies found in the original investigation.
His interview could not be completed for health reasons.
Narayanen was the third person, after John McAreavey and bellboy Rajiv Bhujun, to discover the body of Michaela McAreavey in room 1025 of the Legends Hotel in Mauritius on January 10, 2011.
The 37-year-old, who has worked at the hotel for four years, was one of the suspects in the case when he was arrested in January 2011 and charged with conspiracy to commit murder.
However, the charge was reduced to conspiracy to steal two months later.
The theft charges against Narayanen were dropped in 2013.
Narayanen was the only original suspect not subpoenaed at the trial of Avinash Treebhoowoon and Sandip Moneea – the two men acquitted of the murder on July 13, 2012.
The day after the murder, Narayanen reportedly called in sick for work, claiming he had injured his leg and it was in a cast.
But the murder trial heard claims he was later seen in a supermarket.
A police officer who testified at the Supreme Court hearing told the court that Narayanen was not one of the killers, but claimed he provided the key card that opened the room as part of his role in a popular racket, to steal guests.
Traces of the security guard’s DNA were found on an unauthorized “dummy” magnetic card that was found in the hotel’s security office where the actual staff card that opened the door of room 1025 was supposed to be.
The card that gave access two minutes before Mrs McAreavey entered her room was never found.
A potential genetic match to Narayans was also found in a closet in 1025’s bathroom that contained a safe. But a DNA expert said it may have been an accidental find and not conclusive evidence he had touched it.
Hotel manager Brice Lunot told the jury that Narayanen was one of the staff who entered the room after the former Rose of Tralee contestant’s body was discovered as desperate efforts to revive her took place.
But Legends security chief Mohammad Imrit told the trial that Narayanen was seen on CCTV near room 1025 on the day of the murder and was not supposed to be there.
Mr Imrit said Narayanen had been posted elsewhere that morning but had asked for his position to be changed to one closer to the luxury blocks where the McAreaveys were staying.
Room service worker Ravindradeo Seetohul gave evidence and claimed he saw the security guard standing at the open door of 1025 talking to Mr Treebhoowoon about half an hour before Ms McAreavey died.
CCTV footage also showed Narayanen patrolling a route past the patio doors of the McAreaveys’ room 25 minutes before the murder. However, it was determined in court that he had no reason to be in that area of the hotel.
Yoosoof Soopun, deputy police commissioner, said at the first trial that Narayanen was not involved in the murder, but claimed he planned a theft with others.
In media interviews, Naraynen claimed that police beat him and put a revolver to his head before he signed a statement that he had given the stolen master key card to Sandip Moneea early on January 10, 2011. implicates another associate, Seenarain Mungroo.
Mr Mungroo was questioned by the police and charged, but the charges were later dropped when it was revealed Naraynen had made up the story about him.
Narayanen claimed that the presence of his DNA on the “dummy” card was because he handed the cards to control room staff that morning.
There was nothing strange about walking on the wall behind the luxury block, he said. In his four years at Legends he had always gone there.
This week Narayanen was remanded in custody for theft.
A court document from the district court in Riviere du Rempart, Mauritius shows that the charges against him relate specifically to conspiring to steal from John and Michaela McAreavey’s room at the Legends Hotel.
Narayanen’s lawyer, Vikash Teeluckdharry, said “there is nothing new” about the allegations he is facing, saying they are the same as in 2011 and that his client is innocent.
https://www.independent.ie/irish-news/news/arrest-of-former-hotel-guard-puts-michaela-mcareavey-murder-back-in-spotlight-41505458.html The arrest of the former hotel guard puts the murder of Michaela McAreavey back in the spotlight