Let us hope reward offer leads to justice for Michaela McAreavey

Morning View
Morning View

The murder of Michaela McAreavey was a particularly gruesome and dastardly crime because it happened on a honeymoon.

One minute she was having lunch in a luxury hotel on a paradise island, and the next she was being strangled in her room.

That Michaela had gone back to fetch a kit kat to have with her tea is poignant detail in the horror – whoever would think that such a brief excursion for a simple pleasure would end in violence. It seems that she had disturbed burglars.

No-one has been brought to justice for the murder of this 27-year-old woman in 2011. A 2012 trial of two former hotel workers ended in acquittal.

John McAreavey, the GAA player and Michaela’s widower, is back in Mauritius, where he has offered a €50,000 reward for information to catch the killer.He has stated clearly the family’s determination not to let the pursuit of justice fade away.

It is to be hoped that the reward leads to people coming forward with information that can lead to a trial and conviction.

This is unlikely to be easy, as time passes by. It is always hard in any country that has a robust and safe criminal justice system to get convictions, given the high standard of proof that is required in criminal cases.

Having such a high standard is a necessary feature of a civilised society. But relentlessly pursuing convictions in homicide cases is also a feature of such a society.

Most western societies now have light sentences for murder. In Britain the life sentence rarely means any such thing, and time served in jail is often less than 20 years (it was once as low as 13). Even states in the US which do not have the death penalty (almost half of them) often have relatively soft sentences for murder.

In a remotely just world, someone who strangled a woman to death on her honeymoon would not see freedom again.

We can only hope that at the very least someone serves time in prison for the despicable murder of Michaela McAreavey.