Sunday 21 January 2018

Family's disappointment as Turkish murder verdict is adjourned

Shannon Graham in Turkey with Recep Cetin
Shannon Graham in Turkey with Recep Cetin
Recep Cetin
The victims: Marion Graham (left) and her friend Kathy Dinsmore

John Balson

A man accused of murdering two Irish women in Turkey has challenged a psychiatric report which claimed he was sane at the time he was alleged to have stabbed the pair, it was revealed today.

Waiter Recep Cetin is accused of killing Marion Graham, 54 and 53-year-old Cathy Dinsmore in August 2011. The women were found buried in shallow graves in woods 75 miles outside the popular holiday resort of Kusadasi. They had suffered multiple knife wounds including having their throats cut.

Cetin's father Eyup, a taxi driver, is also on trial accused of the double murder.

A verdict and sentencing had been expected today but lawyer Baris Kaska, who is acting for the relatives of both women, confirmed the hearing had been delayed until next month after Recep Cetin's legal team rejected the medical report.

Mr Kaska said: "The hearing has been postponed until September 9. This is because Recep Cetin rejected the mental illness report taken by the hospital. Before September 9, the judge will have to decide to accept that report or not."

He said the bereaved families, who had travelled from Northern Ireland to Turkey for the final stages of the trial, were frustrated by another delay in the complex and lengthy legal process.

"They are disappointed, of course, because they were expecting a verdict today," added the lawyer.

The father and son are standing trial in front of four judges in the city of Izmir. Two of the judges on the panel were temporary and had not attended previous hearings. It is up to the four original trial judges to now consider Recep Cetin's lawyer's request for the matter to be heard by a higher authority.

Recep Cetin has admitted stabbing the women, but claimed his father, who has consistently protested his innocence, was not involved.

A key witness has placed both men at the scene.

Court proceedings were previously hampered because Recep Cetin, a former boyfriend of Ms Graham's 15-year-old daughter Shannon, had falsely claimed to be aged 17 in an apparent attempt to be tried in the juvenile courts where sentences are lighter.

In parts of the country, particularly the south-east, it is not uncommon for births to be officially registered a number of months, sometimes years, after the birthday. However bone marrow tests confirmed that the waiter was aged 22.

Jail terms for a murder conviction stretch up to 36 years in Turkey.

Ms Graham and Ms Dinsmore were close friends and had been on an extended holiday in Turkey when the stabbings took place.

It is claimed they were murdered after Ms Graham refused to allow Cetin - known to the family as Alex - marry her teenage daughter.

The women were regular visitors to Kusadasi for years and had travelled with the waiter out of the resort for a shopping trip after Shannon Graham went on a boat trip.

Cetin later claimed he had to fight off kidnappers who had bundled the two women into a van.

A new hearing is expected to take place on September 9.

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