THREE hotel staff have appeared in court in Mauritius charged in connection with the murder of Michaela McAreavey on her honeymoon.
Two of the men are charged with murder and one with conspiracy to murder.
However, Mauritius’ most senior murder squad detective said that the Department of Public Prosecutions were likely to accept a plea of unlawful killing.
“We would like the charge to be murder but it is likely to be reduced and that decision is out of our hands,” Inspector Ranjit Jokhoo said.
Mrs McAreavey, 28, was found strangled at the Legends Hotel.
The three in court were Abinash Treebhoowoon, 29, Sanbit Moneea, 41, and 33-year-old Raj Theekay.
It is understood the key cards used to access Mr and Mrs McAreavey’s hotel room are believed to be central to the investigation.
Investigators in Mauritius have said they were told that someone entered the room two minutes before Michaela.
Police Inspector Ranjit Jokhoo said Mr and Mrs McAreavey had been having a cup of tea at an outdoor cafe after using the swimming pool at the Indian Ocean resort.
Mrs McAreavey then went back to her room, which was about 50 metres away, to fetch something, said to be biscuits for her tea, Inspector Jokhoo said.
When she failed to return after 20 to 30 minutes, her husband went to the room to look for her. He found her dead in the bathtub in the room.
Meanwhile, police on the holiday island have said that one of the three men charged in connection with the murder of Michaela McAreavey has confessed to the killing.
Police said on Thursday that Avinash Treebhoowoon had confessed to the killing.
It follows the revelation that a lawyer for Raj Theekoy said his client had spoken to police and implicated the other two men.
All three were remanded in police custody for a week and returned to court yesterday (Wednesday), when they are expected either to be formally charged or released.