Wednesday 18 January 2017

Father of accused is arrested over deaths of Irish women

Colin O'Carroll

Published 30/12/2011 | 05:00

Shannon Graham (fourth from left), beside her father, Raymond McGuinness, and other relatives outside the court in the Turkish town of Izmir yesterday
Shannon Graham (fourth from left), beside her father, Raymond McGuinness, and other relatives outside the court in the Turkish town of Izmir yesterday
Recep Cetin is accused of murdering Marion Graham and Kathy Dinsmore
Marion Graham
Kathy Dinsmore

THE father of a man accused of stabbing two Irish women to death while they were on holiday in Turkey was dramatically arrested during a court hearing yesterday.

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Eyup Cetin will now join his son Recep in custody over the deaths of friends Marion Graham (54) and Kathy Dinsmore (53) in August.

The judge also ordered that Recep undergo a bone-marrow test to determine his real age, so that a formal decision can be made on whether to try him as an adult or a juvenile.

Yesterday, during the first day of the hearing, the judge ordered that Eyup Cetin should be placed in custody after evidence was heard that a witness had come forward and placed Mr Cetin and his car at the scene of the murders.

Recep Cetin is the former boyfriend of Ms Graham's teenage daughter Shannon, who was holidaying with her mother when the murders occurred.

He has already confessed to stabbing Ms Graham and Ms Dinsmore, both from Co Down, but claimed that he was attacked first.

The women were found in a forest with multiple stab wounds. Both had their throats cut and Ms Dinsmore had been stabbed up to 35 times. Ms Graham had been stabbed 17 times.

Shannon Graham was accompanied by family members as she gave evidence at the Bayrakli City Courthouse in the town of Izmir yesterday.

She posed for pictures on the court house steps with her sisters Karen, Lorraine, Martina and brother David, while an official from the Irish embassy in Ankara was also on hand.

There was no one present from the Dinsmore family as Ms Dinsmore's only brother was unwell and unable to travel to Turkey for the trial.

Because it was a juvenile hearing, the press was excluded from the courtroom.

The Graham family alleged that relatives of the accused were trying to intimidate them. Members of the Turkish family were then removed and put into another area.

The accused, Recep Cetin, claims to be only 17, meaning that he would be tried as a juvenile and would face a much-reduced sentence if found guilty.

However, the families of the victims believe that he is at least 20 and should therefore be tried as an adult. Births in parts of Turkey are often not reliably recorded.

It had been claimed that Recep Cetin carried out the murders because Ms Graham had refused to let him marry Shannon, who was aged just 15 at the time.

Test

Yesterday, the court heard that Shannon's mother told her two weeks before the killings that she wanted to take her back to Northern Ireland and would never let her return to Turkey.

Solicitor Baris Kaska, on behalf of the Graham and Dinsmore families, said Mr Cetin had learned of this plan and told them that he would "do something bad" to the family.

Mr Kaska said there had been suspicion from the start that Recep Cetin was not alone in committing the murders and that someone else was involved.

He claimed that Eyup Cetin had changed his story to police three times. The solicitor also revealed that he had been contacted by a new witness who placed Eyup Cetin with his son at the murder scene.

Eyup Cetin had said in one of his statements that Recep was 22 years old but he later retracted that statement.

Mr Kaska told the judge that the witness had been afraid to come forward and it was only when they saw that Eyup Cetin had been released after an earlier arrest that they contacted Mr Kaska.

The witness was still afraid to be identified, he said, but had made a statement placing Eyup Cetin and his car at the scene.

The judge allowed the evidence and Eyup Cetin was then dramatically arrested and taken to jail.

It is the first time that the car, a black Tofas Sahin -- a Fiat design made in Turkey -- has been mentioned in the case.

The Turkish legal system allows the judge to make his own statements about the case. Yesterday he said that he believed that one person working alone could not have stabbed the two women to death.

The bone-marrow test will now be carried out and the next hearing is scheduled for February 22.

If the results show that Recep is an adult, it will mean that if he is found guilty, any prison sentence will be between five years and two life sentences of 24 years each.

After the hearing, Nurettin Cetin, an uncle of the defendant, gave a statement to journalists, criticising the Graham and Dinsmore families.

He told the members of the Turkish press that the women had spent their time running around with different boyfriends and had left a string of unpaid bills.

The Graham family said last night that they were pleased with the way the hearing had gone but were too exhausted to comment further.

Irish Independent

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