Belfast Telegraph

Wednesday 27 August 2014

Murder in Turkey: Daughter left to pick up pieces

The first thing to hit you is the nauseous stench of rotting rubbish. But just a few steps further and the sweet smell of pines is as welcoming as the shade provided by the trees from the hot afternoon sun.

While the wooded park is secluded, the city noises and whirr of traffic interrupt any real sense of isolation.

It was along this grassy path, just a few feet from a busy road on the outskirts of Izmir city centre, past the rubbish and into the shade, that best friends Marion Graham and Kathy Dinsmore are believed to have walked on Thursday afternoon.

And it was here that their bloodied and lifeless bodies were found.

Why they decided to walk into this wooded spot is uncertain.

However, their alleged killer, 17 year-old Recep Cetin, allegedly told police that he had encouraged the women to join him to see a picturesque picnic area.

They had no reason not to trust him. He was Marion's daughter's boyfriend and had been sharing an apartment with them for some time.

Rolls of blue and white plastic police tape are now draped around trees, cordoning off quite a large area at the crime scene.

The tape and a pair of white forensic gloves on the grass are the only indicators of the terrifying murders that occurred in broad daylight at lunchtime on Thursday.

It is not yet known how, after he allegedly stabbed the women 15 times in a frenzied attack, Cetin made his way back to the seaside resort of Kusadasi, where he, Marion and Kathy had left just a short time earlier.

The three had travelled for just over an hour by taxi, and the last known sighting of the three together was around 1pm, when the taxi driver dropped them off outside a market owned by Cetin's father.

When Cetin arrived back in Kusadasi alone later that day with a knife wound to his hand, he claimed that the two women had been kidnapped and that he had been attacked. The police did not believe his tale and he was very quickly arrested.

However, Marion's 15-year-old daughter Shannon did not know the horrific truth about her mother's murder until 8pm the following night when the news was carefully broken to her by members of the Irish embassy.

Marion's ex-husband Raymond McGuinness and their son David flew out to Izmir on a 9.30am flight from Dublin airport on Saturday.

When they arrived they left through a side door to meet with Shannon and then went to the city's morgue which is below Bayrakli Courthouse.

The previous evening, during a private court hearing, a judge was told that Cetin had admitted the murders.

Outside the door of the morgue lay a red coffin, similar to the one that was used to remove the bodies from the murder scene.

Inside the morgue, father and son identified the bodies. They both appeared deeply shaken as they were escorted to a waiting car by a friend.

As they left Raymond said: "We are not doing so good in the circumstances. We just want to get home as soon as we can.

"We have identified the bodies and my main concern is my daughter. We are going to arrange a flight home as soon as possible.

"It is a very difficult time. We have a few things that we have to get in order and we are arranging to have the bodies flown home.

"We hope to be back home in Ireland as soon as we can. It is very difficult under these tragic circumstances. I would request that everyone would leave us to grieve in peace."

Back at Ladies' Beach in Kusadasi, where Shannon and her mother would often be spotted out walking along the bustling shops, bars and restaurants, daily life has been affected by the tragedy.

The sunbathers, the waiters, the taxi drivers and shopkeepers are all talking about the murders, while photographs of Cetin, Shannon, Marion and Kathy are splashed across the front pages of the Turkish newspapers.

Said Aine Mulligan from Dublin: "It is all anyone is talking about.

"It is just such a tragic case and so sad for Shannon especially.

"It hasn't made me fear for my safety here or anything.

"It just seems to be one of those horrible events that could have happened anywhere.

Mary Mitchell, from Brighton, said: "I was here when the news broke and there were so many rumours going around that it did make me feel nervous for a bit.

"It won't stop me from coming back though."

Cetin allegedly told police that he murdered Marion and Kathy because he wanted to marry Shannon and move to Ireland, but her mother was against it.

"For some of the uneducated boys, hoping for a marriage with someone from the UK or Ireland is not unusual in Turkey," said Ali a school teacher in the area.

"They think that life will be better there and to get there they have to marry.

"But there are clashes of culture. Many of these young men can be very jealous, possessive and intense," he added.

The authorities have been remaining tight-lipped about the details of the case.

Nobody from the police has been prepared to talk officially to the media.

It is thought that this reluctance to discuss the case is partly due to concerns that it could affect tourism.

"All that people see when they look at Kusadasi on the internet now is news about this murder", said restaurant owner Serafestin Dural, who has known Shannon, Marion, Kathy for three years, and Cetin for seven.

"I have watched (Cetin) grow up over the past seven years and just cannot believe what they are saying he has done.

"I also know Shannon, her mum and Kathy, such nice people.

"We in Turkey love our country and this kind of news is hurting us. We are shamed by it. We have been so so sad since we heard it.

Turkey is a beautiful country. People do not need to be afraid to come here."

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