The family of murdered honeymooner Michaela McAreavey has labelled the publication of crime scene photographs of her body as reprehensible.
Mauritius’ Sunday Times, a paper with no connection to any British or Irish company, used images of the hotel room crime scene where Mrs McAreavey was killed.
Irish Taoiseach Enda Kenny and Stormont deputy first minister Martin McGuinness have also condemned the publication.
The newly wedded was killed while on honeymoon with her husband John at the Legends Hotel in Mauritius in January of last year.
A statement by members of the couple’s family said: “As the families struggle to come to terms with the result from the trial, this reprehensible and repugnant action by this newspaper is not only insensitive to their grief but it marks another low in the treatment of John, the two families and the dignity of Michaela.”
Around 12 black and white images of the crime scene were published today in the newspaper.
On the front page there is a photograph of Ms McAreavey taken after her death – under the headline ‘Exclusive’.
Inside there are more images of the crime scene, including the hotel room and the bathroom.
There are also close up pictures of Ms McAreavey’s injuries.
This week two men were acquitted of her murder after an eight-week trial.
Mr Kenny said: “The publication of these images represents an appalling invasion of privacy and is a gross affront to human dignity.
“There are issues of fundamental human rights in question in relation to this deeply upsetting matter.
“This reprehensible act can only add to the pain and suffering of the McAreavey and Harte families and our thoughts and sympathies are again with them at this time.
“On behalf of the people of Ireland, the Government will be lodging a formal complaint in the strongest possible terms, with the Government of Mauritius.”
Mr McGuinness said the photographs had come from within the Mauritian system.
“Just when it seems the system in Mauritius cannot heap anymore pain and anguish on to the McAreavey and Harte families, a local newspaper publishes pictures of Michaela’s body,” he said.
“The decision of the newspaper in Mauritius to publish crime scene photographs, including pictures of Michaela’s body, is an outrageous abuse that cannot be justified in anyway,” he said.
“People in Mauritius need to realise that the eyes of the international community are firmly focused on their country and their justice system in the wake of the brutal murder of Michaela and the absolute failure to deliver justice for John McAreavey and the rest of family.
“This case will not simply go away as some in Mauritius seem to hope. I can assure the Mauritian authorities that people in Ireland will continue to keep a focus on this case until justice is done.”
Ireland’s deputy prime minister, Tanaiste Eamon Gilmore, will meet Ambassador to Mauritius Brendan McMahon tomorrow to discuss the publication of the images.
He said he was shocked by the pictures and hoped to bring the issue to the attention of authorities in Mauritius.
“This is a deeply distressing development for the families of Michaela and John and demonstrates a total lack of respect for their feelings and rights,” said Mr Gilmore.
“The Government is determined to make a strong protest about this matter to the Government of Mauritius.
“My Department will continue to be available to offer support and advice to the families of Michaela and John and will assist them in any way we can.”