Heartbroken daughter of Turkey murder victim 'has lost best friend'
Published 23/08/2011 | 05:00
THE heartbroken daughter of Turkey murder victim Marion Graham returned to Ireland last night with her father, saying she has lost her best friend.
Shannon Graham (15), flew into Belfast International Airport accompanied by her father Raymond McGuinness and brother David.
Shannon's boyfriend, a Turkish waiter, has confessed to killing Marion Graham and her friend Kathy Dinsmore.
The Graham party yesterday travelled from Turkey to London Heathrow and touched down at Belfast just before 5pm.
"It has been a very long and arduous day for all of us," Mr McGuinness said. "It has been very difficult and was a difficult journey.
"As for Shannon, it hasn't really hit her yet. Her mum was her best friend, not just her mum. They went everywhere together."
Ms Graham and her best friend Kathy Dinsmore, both 53 and from Newry, were stabbed to death and buried in woods outside the Turkish holiday resort of Kusadasi last week.
Shannon's boyfriend Recep Cetin confessed to knifing them in a frenzied attack following a dispute over a marriage proposal.
Mr McGuinness who was reunited with his daughter at the morgue in the Turkish city of Izmir said the events hadn't "hit her at all".
"She was on the boat trip when it happened and she believed [Cetin] when he said about her mum being kidnapped and even went to the hospital with him to see about the cut on his hand," he said.
Still dressed in lightweight holiday clothing, Shannon appeared to wipe tears from her face while waiting for the luggage carrousel to start last night.
Mr McGuinness, an oil distributor, was still finalising arrangements to have the bodies of both women repatriated.
Mr McGuinness confirmed the women's bodies had been transferred some 350 miles to Antalya on Turkey's south coast from where they will be flown back to the North.
He said he was hoping the women could be returned to home "very soon".
A spokeswoman for the Department of Foreign Affairs said repatriation would depend on "a number" of circumstances including flight availability.
Cetin, who called himself 'Alex' had been in a relationship with Shannon since last year.
It is understood he wanted to marry the 15-year-old and became incensed when her mother refused to give her blessing.
It is alleged that after luring the women into a forest he slashed their throats and hid their bodies.
It is also claimed he then fabricated a story that the two women had been kidnapped in a bid to explain an injury to his hand.
There is some confusion over Cetin's age.
Police sources in Turkey believe he is older than his claim of 17 which, if true, could have major implications on a potential punishment as he would be tried as an adult.
Prayers for the victims were said in churches in Turkey and in the North yesterday.
Books of condolence were also opened in Newry and Warrenpoint.
Ms Graham was a regular visitor to Turkey. At the time of her death Ms Graham and her daughter were staying in an apartment owned by her ex-partner Mr McGuinness.
They had been in Kusadasi for most of the summer.