Sunday 17 December 2017

Ex-partner comforts daughter as charges are prepared against waiter


The ex-partner of one of the two Irish women stabbed to death in Turkey arrived in the country yesterday as police prepared to charge a 17-year-old waiter with their murder.

Raymond McGuinness, from Newry, Co Down, was reunited with his daughter Shannon, who had been cared for at a hotel in the resort of Kusadasi since reporting the disappearance of her mother, Marion Graham, also from Newry, and her best friend, Kathy Dinsmore, from Rostrevor, last Thursday. After formally identifying the slain women's bodies yesterday, Mr McGuinness said he hoped to have both returned to the North by the middle of this week.

A spokeswoman for the Department of Foreign Affairs here said the repatriation process would depend on flight availability. The family is being assisted by Irish diplomat Fiona Nic Dhonnacha, deputy head of mission in Ankara, who travelled to Izmir to support Shannon.

The two 53-year-old best friends were last seen being driven in a taxi by Recip Cetin, who had reportedly been rebuffed when he asked Ms Graham if he could marry Shannon, who is 15 years old.

According to local sources, Mr Cetin had arranged for Shannon to take a boat trip from Kusadasi last Thursday afternoon. Local reports said that Mr Cetin had told police he had offered to take the two women on a tour of Izmir, taking a taxi with them from Kusadasi and then taking them to a suburb in the west of the city in his father's taxi.

Local reports say Mr Cetin turned up for work at a restaurant in Kusadasi with a cut on his arm last Friday, and was said by staff to have been in a strange mood. He told his colleagues that the two women had been kidnapped and he had been injured trying to save them.

Police arrested him on Friday afternoon and after questioning, he took them to a wooded area in the suburb of Buca, which is said locally to be a high crime area of Izmir.

The two bodies were found about 20 yards apart near an old graveyard. Local people said that the two women had suffered multiple stab wounds and had had their throats cut.

It was also reported locally that Mr Cetin's father and a taxi driver were also arrested and questioned by police. They have since been released. It is not clear if and when the 17-year-old will be brought before a court.

Before flying out from the North yesterday morning, Mr McGuinness said that "there was always something that was not quite right" with the waiter, who was said to be obsessed with his daughter.

Mr McGuinness owns the apartment in the holiday town in which his former partner, daughter and friends had been staying throughout this summer. He described the waiter as having been "controlling" and a "gold-digger".

Mr McGuinness said that he understood that the young waiter had been told that he would not be allowed to marry his daughter during a meeting with his former partner.

He described her as "the life and soul of the party".

A representative from the Dept of Foreign Affairs travelled to Izmir from Ankara to liaise with Turkish police and to help repatriate the bodies.

According to friends of the women, Ms Graham had been concerned about the waiter, known to tourists as "Alex", as he had become insistent about marrying her daughter. It is not clear how Mr Cetin convinced the two women to come with him in a taxi from Kusadasi to Izmir.

The double murder left people in Newry and Co Down shocked. Ms Graham's sister, Monica Higgins, called briefly to check on her sister's home on the outskirts of Newry just after being told about the double murder. "It's absolutely devastating. We've just found out. My mother's in the car crying her eyes out," she said.

In a statement, members of the Dinsmore family spoke of their sorrow. "John and George Dinsmore are devastated by the tragic death of their beloved sister Kathy while on holiday in Turkey.

"The Dinsmore family are grateful for the many condolences that they have received and appeal for privacy during this difficult time."

Bishop of Dromore John McAreavey -- uncle-in-law of Michaela McAreavey who was murdered in Mauritius in January -- said: "I am deeply distressed to hear the terrible news of the violent deaths in Turkey of Marion Graham and Kathy Dinsmore, both from the Diocese of Dromore.

"I wish to offer my deepest sympathies to the families of the deceased at this difficult time. I ask the people of the diocese to remember Marion and Kathy in their prayers at masses this weekend."

Ms Dinsmore had worked for Newry and Mourne District Council in Co Down as well as a local taxi firm in the border city. Her mother died just four weeks ago.

It has also emerged that this was the second major tragedy to strike the Graham family in recent years.

Ms Graham's 22-year-old half-sister, Belinda Harte, was shot dead at her home in Newry in November 1997 by her estranged partner. She was three months' pregnant at the time.

Sunday Independent

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