Donal MacIntyre may be living a slightly less adrenaline-fuelled existence these days - after all, there are only so many years as a family man you can spend undercover rooting out football hooligans and the like - but he's no less hungry for a good tale, and some injustice to boot.
His latest quest has taken him to Mauritius to investigate and report on the murder of honeymooner Michaela McAreavey, the new bride found strangled in her hotel room in January 2011, and he's uncovered a catalogue of apparent blunders in the initial investigation.
Donal MacIntyre 'wanted to take the emotion out of the case'
The death of the God-loving, fun-loving Irishwoman, the daughter of a Gaelic football manager and a former Rose of Ulster, devastated villagers in her native Glencull, Northern Ireland. Villagers had watched her walk up the aisle in the local church. Three weeks later, they buried her at the same place, with thousands of mourners in attendance.
Her shocking murder, days into her honeymoon, created headlines around the world, and caused a dip in the number of Irish travellers making their way to Mauritius. The local police, under a lot of pressure, charged two local men Avinash Treebhoowoon and Sandip Moneea with her murder. Both men were acquitted last year, amidst scenes of protest and distress in the courthouse.
In a new documentary to be screened on Sunday evening, MacIntyre travels to the paradise island and retraces the steps of the investigation. As he says, "It's only when you get on the ground, you work out what gaps have been left - that this exclusive resort actually has an open beach on one side, there are hawkers who have never been questioned, you can read people's body language and you work out what to ask."
MacIntyre is all too aware of the tragedy of the loss of Michaela McAreavey. In his words, "She took the hopes of a community with her. The names of those towns are bywords for past atrocity, but this was in peacetime, and this couple were in paradise, six thousand miles away. It was unthinkable."
Michaela McAreavey was buried at the same church where she had married husband John only three weeks before
Nevertheless, the television investigator is furious with the way the case was handled, with swift arrests in Mauritius, two acquittals last year and, to his mind, leading figures in Ireland including Martin McGuinness allegedly jumping on the bandwagon for their own political ends.
"It was an honest verdict delivered by a jury," claims MacIntyre. "For Martin McGuiness to shout for a retrial, after two innocent men have been acquitted, he's multiplying the trauma for the family."
MacIntyre admits he relishes the prospect of playing Columbo, but there's a campaigner inside him alongside the criminologist. Now there's speculation that Michaela McAreavey's body may be exhumed, he's ready for a long journey...
"I wanted to take the emotion out of the case, campaign on behalf of the innocent where needs be.
"We did a solid, professional job of telling this story. And I think and hope there will be another trial, but it will be such a hurdle for the police to go back and re-examine all their failings, with all the self-flagellation involved. But I never leave stories behind."
'Donal MacIntyre: Murder in Paradise' is being shown at 9pm on CBS Reality at 9pm on Sunday 30 June.
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