Sunday 25 February 2018

Murder in Turkey: 'I had no plans to wed the accused'

Shannon Graham (centre) daughter of Marian Graham is supported by family members at the funeral of her mother at St Mary's church in Newry, Co Down. Photo: PA
Shannon Graham (centre) daughter of Marian Graham is supported by family members at the funeral of her mother at St Mary's church in Newry, Co Down. Photo: PA

Lesley-Anne Henry

The teenage daughter of Turkey murder victim Marion Graham has dismissed claims her boyfriend had wanted to propose.

Turkish waiter Recep Cetin is accused of stabbing mother-of-four Marion Graham and her best friend Cathy Dinsmore after a bitter row over marriage plans.

However, speaking publicly for the first time, Shannon Graham (15) who had been dating Cetin, also known as 'Alex', for two years said speculation that the pair were to wed was untrue.

"That's why I would just love to know why he did it," she said.

"The marriage part isn't true. The first thing I head of that was in the papers. He didn't ask me to marry him and to my knowledge he didn't ask my mother either."

Last week Shannon was pictured at Belfast International Airport wearing a ring on her engagement finger. However, the schoolgirl said the ring had belonged to her late mother.

"I was wearing mummy's ring on my engagement finger when I came home but that has nothing to do with him," she added. "He didn't ask me to marry him."

Funeral services for Ms Graham and Ms Dinsmore who were both aged 53 and from Newry were held last Friday.

Their bodies had been found in a forest outside the holiday resort of Kusadasi on August 18.

Both had suffered multiple stab wounds and their throats had been slashed.

Last week the Belfast Telegraph revealed how Cetin had also violated the memory of his two victims by claiming he killed them to save his own life.

Shannon had been on a boat trip when the killings happened.

It is understood Cetin fabricated a story that the women had been kidnapped and Shannon, who initially believed her boyfriend, said she has been left baffled by his motive for the brutal double murder.

"I wanted to speak to Alex but the police wouldn't let me," she told a Sunday newspaper.

"The only thing I wanted to know was why he did it, because I don't know why he did what he did. When I heard what he did I couldn't believe it.

"He never asked me to marry him, so why did he do it? What was going through his mind?

"Did he ever think twice about what he was actually doing? Did he ever think to stop? And why did he lie to my face about what happened?"

Shannon, who is due to return to St Mary's School this week, said she had been left devastated by the loss of her mother. "I loved my mum very much," she added.

"There is a massive hole where she should be. I just wish this had never happened and that she was here now.

"I was mummy's shadow. We did everything together. I used to sleep beside her upstairs because I didn't like sleeping alone in my room downstairs. We went everywhere together, shopping, everywhere. She was my best friend."

Meanwhile, another of Ms Graham's daughters, Lorraine, said the family were now focused on caring for young Shannon.

"She is still a child," she said.

"We all have separate lives but her life was here with her mummy.

"She will be surrounded with people who care for her and love her. It has all be very traumatic for everyone. We are just taking it one day at a time."

The bodies of best friends Marion Graham and Cathy Dinsmore, both 53 and from Newry, were discovered in a forest outside the Turkish holiday resort of Kusadasi on August 18. Waiter Recep Cetin has appeared in court in connection with the killings. Cetin, who was also known as Alex, had been dating Ms Graham's daughter, Shannon, for two years and had told the family he was 17.

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