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Devotion Mickey Harte reveals how he prays beside tragic daughter Michaela’s picture every morning

'The life that I knew with Michaela and the one that I have known without her. The world will always be that way for me'


 John McAreavey and wife Michaela McAreavey on their wedding day

John McAreavey and wife Michaela McAreavey on their wedding day

John McAreavey and wife Michaela McAreavey on their wedding day

Former Tyrone GAA manager Mickey Harte has described how he pauses beside his tragic daughter Michaela’s picture every morning and prays.

He reveals in his third autobiography how her room looks across from his and his Marian’s bedroom, and it is “still much the same as it was the night before her wedding”.

He later writes in 'Devotion – A memoir' in which he shares the most revealing details to date of his family’s struggle in dealing with the loss of Michaela, that he views his life in two parts.

“The life that I knew with Michaela and the one that I have known without her. The world will always be that way for me.”

The 27-year-old, who was the only daughter of all-Ireland winning Gaelic football manager Mickey Harte, was strangled in her hotel room on the Indian Ocean island on January 10 2011.

The Co Tyrone teacher, who had been married 10 days earlier, was attacked as she returned to her room alone and disturbed a burglary.

In his new book her father recalls how his wife collapsed after he told her their daughter had been murdered on her honeymoon.

Harte describes the horrific moment he received the news, as McAreavey's dad, Brendan, told him he had to ring John as "something has happened to Michaela".

He later tells of his pain at breaking Michaela’s death to his wife, Marian, stating "she collapsed, unconscious in my arms".

Extracts are also written by John McAreavey and Harte’s three sons, Mark, Mattie and Michael.

Mrs McAreavey’s widower John who has led a long campaign for justice on behalf of her loved ones, recalls the exact chain of events of Michaela’s death in heart-breaking terms.

In the book he admits he wishes his memory “was more of a blur”.

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“Seeing Michaela in the bath, the water overflowing, her body floating... my mind wasn't willing to accept that she was dead,” he writes.

It took John, who spent about six weeks living with the Hartes and slept in Michaela’s bed, nine months to get back to work.

At one point, he writes: "I felt that I let Mickey down. It's something that's always going to be with me."

The Down man was only 26 at the time of Michaela’s death. He has since remarried to his wife, Tara, in 2016, and the couple now have a baby boy, James.

He writes about finding love again and feeling he had Michaela's blessing from beyond the grave as if she were saying: "I'm fine here, John. You need to move forward."

An estimated 20,000 people came to the family house for Michaela’s wake to pay their respects, and at one stage in the book, Mattie Harte, says he remembers “Fr Gerard told me that Donna Traynor from the BBC broke down in his arms after she interviewed him”.

As well as various GAA stars from all generations, youngest Harte son also remembers Winkie Rea, the former Loyalist paramilitary introducing himself on behalf of the Shankill Northern Ireland Football Supporters Club.

“I will never forget seeing the DUP come through: Peter Robinson, who was First Minister at the time, along with Arlene Foster, Nelson McCausland and Maurice Morrow. I met them in the corridor outside the wake room and burst out crying,” he writes.

“Suddenly it hit me how big the whole thing was. Michaela’s death touched people on both sides of the community. The IFA held a minute’s silence at all soccer league games. Stuff like that was unheard of in the North.”

Two former workers at the luxury resort – Sandip Moneea and Avinash Treebhoowoon – were acquitted after a high-profile trial on the holiday island in the summer of 2012.

It was also revealed recently how a post-mortem examination found that Raj Theekoy, a key state witness in the Michaela McAreavey murder trial, died by suicide.

The body of Mr Theekoy (43) was discovered on wasteland near Beau Plateau in Goodlands, Mauritius, after he had been reported missing by his wife.

Mr Theekoy was a cleaner at the Legends resort in Mauritius where Ms McAreavey had been staying with her husband John when she was strangled to death.

Described at the time as the "State's star witness" he told the jury in the 2012 trial he heard her scream, and then saw the accused men in the vicinity of Ms McAreavey's room shortly afterwards.

'Devotion – A memoir' by Mickey Harte with Brendan Coffey is available in all good bookshops from October 14. Price UK £21.99.

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