Belfast Telegraph

Thursday 30 October 2014

Justice for families torn apart by two evil murders

Double killer Recep Cetin with Shannon Graham during their days together in Turkey

The devastated daughter of murder victim Marion Graham has said the "horrendous" double killing has torn her family apart.

Shannon Graham (below) was just 15 years old when her then boyfriend Recep Cetin (22) stabbed her mother and friend Cathy Dinsmore to death.

Outside of Izmir Bayrakli Fifth High Criminal Court yesterday she made a short statement alongside friends and family of both victims.

She said: "I am just satisfied with the result. These murders tore us apart."

The teenager was speaking after Cetin was jailed in solitary confinement for life for the murder of the two Co Down women – while his father walked free.

The Turkish waiter showed no emotion as he was found guilty of the frenzied stabbing.

The bodies of the women, both 53, were discovered in a secluded woodland on the outskirts of Izmir, south east Turkey, in 2011.

Relatives of the victims, including Shannon – who was the girlfriend of Cetin at the time of the killing – attended yesterday's hearing.

They also showed little emotion as the verdicts were announced and translated for them by their solicitor, Baris Kaska.

Before sentencing, Cetin pleaded for leniency, repeating earlier claims he was too young for an adult court and that he'd acted in self-defence.

"I made a mistake. I was a teenager," he said. "I feared for my life when they (the victims) attacked me and I did what I did."

But judges yesterday rejected his claims and sentenced him to two whole life sentences, to be served in solitary confinement.

Speaking after the sentencing, George Dinsmore, the brother of Ms Dinsmore, said he was "relieved and happy" Cetin had been given the maximum sentence possible.

"The judges have done everything they can do. I wasn't sure what was going to happen. I am very relieved that we've got a verdict and closure," he said.

Family lawyer Mr Kaska said the post-verdict atmosphere had been more reflective than celebratory. He said: "The trial is finally over after two years. We believe the verdict is right and my clients here are satisfied with the verdict. This is the highest sentence Turkish courts can issue on such a crime."

He said they planned to appeal the release of the killer's father Eyup Cetin, but that it was "not a priority". "We think it has been a fair trial based on all the evidence collected regarding the incident," he added.

"They are satisfied with the sentence issued for Recep and think justice has been served."

Yesterday's hearing also found his father Eyup Cetin (43) not guilty of aiding and abetting on a 2-1 majority, despite damning evidence from a secret witness.

The chief judge voted to find Eyup guilty, but was overruled by his colleagues' decisions.

The taxi driver left court a free man after more than two years in custody. He has always denied involvement despite a secret witness placing him at the scene of the crime.

Before being cleared he accused the witness of bias.

"The secret witness is someone hostile to me and my family – someone who wants to harm us."

He added: "I wish I knew about the murders. It is an unacceptable incident."

Eyup refused to comment outside of court.

The sentencing brings to a close more than two years of court proceedings. The case has been hit by a number of setbacks due to the younger Cetin's lies and a series of court blunders.

Cetin first claimed he was 17 years old – which would have seen him tried in a youth court with more lenient sentences.

And then when tests showed he was actually in his twenties, his lawyer claimed he was mentally ill and needed psychological evaluation.

The court then ordered the mental health examination to be carried out on his father before realising their mistake.

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