Belfast Telegraph

Monday 21 April 2014

Murder in Turkey: As families prepare for sad homecoming, questions still remain

'Alex' and Shannon

From a dingy yard at the side of Izmir courthouse, best friends Marion Graham and Kathy Dinsmore finally began their long journey home.

At around 2pm yesterday their bodies were placed inside wooden boxes at the door of the courthouse morgue and gently set side by side in the back of a private ambulance.

It was inside this same building that Marion's former husband Raymond McGuinness and her son David formally identified the women on Saturday afternoon. There was little ceremony as the coffins were wheeled on a trolley through the car park towards the ambulance. No family members were present.

The official release process took several hours to complete to ensure that all forensic and DNA evidence had been gathered.

After the process was complete the bodies were taken to a private hospital in the city to await the next flight home.

The families are keen to have the bodies returned home as soon as possible, however it was proving difficult yesterday for officials to find an available flight.

Consideration was being given to the possibility of a cargo flight being used to transport the bodies back to Dublin today, but the Irish embassy said yesterday evening there were still no confirmed plans.

A complete version of the autopsy report is understood to have been presented to police yesterday. The initial report revealed that both women had been stabbed around 15 times, mainly in the chest area.

A source close to the investiga

tion said that judging by the stab wounds, “a lot of strength and force was used” by the killer.

This will likely form part of the case against the accused Recep Cetin (right), who claims to be 17, when considering premeditation. Cetin allegedly told police officers that he murdered Marion and Kathy because they had “killed my dreams”, for failing to support his intention to Marion's 15-year-old daughter Shannon and move to Ireland.

Cetin is alleged to have encouraged the women to join him on a short trip to Izmir from the beach resort of Kusadasi on Thursday afternoon before attacking them both and leaving their bodies in a wooded park on the outskirts of the city.

When he arrived back to Kusadasi alone he told Shannon and police that the women had been kidnapped and he had been attacked. According to police reports, however, it was not long before Cetin admitted the truth.

Although police believe they have quickly wrapped up the murder case, it could be several months before Cetin appears at a public court hearing to face the charges.

During a private court hearing late on Friday night a judge deemed that there was enough evidence against the Turkish waiter to remand him in custody.

He is currently in a juvenile jail outside Izmir.

The Bergama youth jail is one of three juvenile prisons that a parliamentary commission on human rights called to be closed last year following allegations of torture and having inappropriate conditions for children.

According to a court source, it could be at least two months before any kind of public court appearance.

It is understood that Cetin's family is in the process of attempting to secure a defence lawyer, to look at the possibility of arguing diminished responsibility. The source also said that it is unlikely that 15-year-old Shannon will be called to give evidence in a court hearing.

Questions over the age of the accused could delay court proceedings. Police believe that Cetin is older than 17, and the prosecution may make moves to have his age officially confirmed through medical evidence so he can be tried in an adult court. If found guilty in a juvenile court Cetin faces up to 24 years in jail. But if he is convicted in an adult court he could be jailed for the rest of his life under an “aggravated life sentence”.

Aggravated life sentences replaced the death penalty in Turkey almost 10 years ago. Anyone to receive such a sentence is held in isolation for 23 hours a day. They may be allowed contact with other prisoners depending on their rehabilitation.

Given the brutality of the murders, one police officer said he hopes Cetin is tried in an adult court.

“We have to show to the world that Turkey does not agree with trouble like this,” the officer said.

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