Shannon to face ex-boyfriend accused of killing mum
Published 29/12/2011 | 05:00
A TEENAGE girl whose mother and aunt were stabbed to death in Turkey will today give evidence against her ex-boyfriend who is accused of murder.
And the families of Marion Graham (54) and Cathy Dinsmore (53), who were killed in a remote park on the outskirts of the city of Izmir last August, will also press for scientific tests to determine his correct age.
Shannon Graham, who was just 15 when her mother and aunt were killed, is back in Turkey to appear at the court in Izmir today.
Murder-accused Recep Cetin is also expected to give evidence to the court. He has already confessed to stabbing Ms Graham and Ms Dinsmore, both from Co Down, but claimed he was attacked first.
Suspicions over the accurate age of Mr Cetin, who is claiming to be a juvenile, are likely to dominate the first stage of the double murder trial.
The victims' families have said they have evidence to prove that he is several years older than 17 and should be tried and sentenced in an adult court. Today they will make an application to the court demanding that a bone test be carried out on Mr Cetin, which will give an accurate indication of his age.
If the judge agrees to a bone test the case will be postponed. And if the families' suspicions are confirmed, Mr Cetin will be tried in an adult court where he would face a significantly higher sentence than in a juvenile court.
Letters from five politicians, including Westminister MPs Margaret Ritchie and Conor Murphy, will be presented to the judge overseeing the case urging him to order a scientific test to determine the accused's true age.
"I share the concerns of the families who want to ensure that proper justice is served in this case," said Ms Ritchie.
She added: "It is only right and proper that this case is dealt with in a just way and that means ensuring the accused is dealt with in the appropriate court."
Baris Kaska, a lawyer representing the families, said he hoped that the pressure from politicians would encourage the court to order the bone test.
The family suffered a setback previously when a prosecution lawyer decided not to apply for the test -- even though Mr Cetin's father is understood to have told police that his son was older than 17.
In the area of Turkey where Mr Cetin was born many women have home births, and there is therefore no accurate record of date of birth.
"I am nervous that the judge will not agree to the application. We know that he (Mr Cetin) is older and we want the scientific proof. He should not be allowed to escape justice by appearing before a juvenile court," said Mr Kaska.
Ms Dinsmore was stabbed up to 35 times and Ms Graham was stabbed 17 times on the day they were killed.
Their bodies were discovered the following day when Mr Cetin confessed to police and brought them to the scene.
He initially claimed he stabbed the women because he was afraid they wanted to break up him and Shannon. He later claimed that the women attacked him first.