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Justice done for teenager killed in Turkish bombing

THE family of teenager Tara Whelan who was killed when a minibus in Turkey was blown up in 2005 said that "justice has been done" after a man was yesterday convicted for the atrocity.

Mehmet Sirac Keskin has been on trial in Turkey since 2006, for the bombing in the Aegean resort town of Kusadasi which killed five people.

The court sentenced Keskin to life on charges of membership of the outlawed Kurdish rebel group, the PKK (Kurdistan Workers' Party).

It handed down a further sentence of 161 years in prison for the deaths of the five victims, for wounding 10 other passengers and possessing explosives.

"Obviously we're delighted that it's come to a conclusion and justice has been done," said her emotional father Tony last night.

"It really hasn't sunk in with us yet. It's just a very difficult time and we're just glad that it's over."

Mr Whelan said that the conviction had been bittersweet for him and his family, and that "it's hard when these things come up" because the verdict had made "everything fresh again" in their minds.

Saddened

"It won't bring back our Tara. Our hearts will always be saddened," he said. "It's difficult at this time of the year -- it's always that bit harder at Christmas." He added that at least the verdict would bring closure for his family.

"It's not easy to talk about it, but we're glad that this aspect of it has been done and I hope we can move on now." Tara (17) was a tourist in the country at the time of the attack, while another tourist Helen Bennett (23) of Spennymoor, Co Durham, in Britain, was also killed along with three Turks.

Keskin acknowledged during his trial being a member of the PKK but denied having planted the bomb.

Tara had just completed her Leaving Certificate at Our Lady of Mercy Secondary School in Waterford at the time of her death, and was awaiting her results.

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Two of her fellow sixth-year students were with her on holiday but were not on the bus on which Tara lost her life.


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