01/Aug/2014 - Last News Update: 16:02

Michaela photos: Mauritian Sunday Times apologises

Category: Northern Ireland

Published: 17th Jul 2012 10:42:09

The Mauritian Sunday Times newspaper has apologised for publishing photographs of murder victim Michaela McAreavey's body.

The paper's director, General Imran Hosany, said the motive was not sensationalism.

Instead, it was "to recall that such a heinous crime remained unpunished".

However, in a statement the Harte and McAreavey families said "the hurt caused over the past 48 hours cannot be undone".

Mrs McAreavey, 27, from County Tyrone - the daughter of the county's gaelic football manager Mickey Harte - was killed in her room at the Legends hotel in Mauritius in January 2011.

She had been on her honeymoon with her husband, John. The photographs of her body were taken at the crime scene in her hotel room.

Last week, two former workers at the hotel were found not guilty of her murder.

Mauritian police raided the newspaper offices in Port Louis in search of the photographs. A police spokesman said no photographs were found and no-one has been arrested.

It shows an utter lack of respect for and a reckless infliction of further hardship on the bereaved families”

The McAreavey and Harte families condemned the paper's, and its editor's, actions.

"As an editor he made a calculated decision to use photographs and images that no responsible media outlet would have touched," they said.

"He further exacerbated his actions by printing an inexcusable editorial in a feeble attempt to justify what was wholly unjustifiable.

"As there is an on going police investigation by the Mauritian authorities as to how these distressing crime scene photographs found their way into the hands of this newspaper, if as this man claims, he is fully cooperating with the police, then the best and most obvious form of apology would be to tell them how his newspaper came into receipt of these photographs."

Northern Ireland's First Minister Peter Robinson and Deputy First Minister Martin McGuinness said the actions of the paper in publishing the photographs were "callous and unjustifiable".

The photographs caused public outrage and Mr McGuinness planned to travel to London on Thursday to meet the Mauritian high commissioner to complain.

Paper director General Hosany made the apology to the McAreavey and Harte families as well as the people of Ireland and Mauritius about the photographs. He also apologised to the governments of Ireland and Mauritius.

On Monday night, a statement was also issued on behalf of the Mauritian Prime Minister which said the publication of the pictures was "outrageous".

"It shows an utter lack of respect for and a reckless infliction of further hardship on the bereaved families," the statement read.

"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.

The BBC's Yasine Mohabuth said the Mauritian Sunday Times was under acute pressure. He said the government had referred the matter for further investigation.

Opposition Leader Paul Bérenger is to raise the matter in the Mauritian Parliament later on Tuesday.

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BBC News, 2012. Michaela photos: Mauritian Sunday Times apologises [Online] (Updated 17th Jul 2012)
Available at: http://www.ukwirednews.com/news/1440925/Michaela-photos-Mauritian-Sunday-Times-apologises [Accessed 1st Aug 2014]

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