Belfast Telegraph

Wednesday 17 September 2014

Murder in Turkey: Doubt surrounding boyfriend's age could influence sentence

Police in Turkey believe the chief suspect in the murder of two Northern Ireland women is older than he has claimed.

Uncertainty over the exact age of Recep Cetin could have major implications on a potential punishment.

If he is 18 or older it would mean he would be treated as an adult, not a juvenile, if he was charged with killing Co Down women Elizabeth Graham and Kathy Dinsmore.

The waiter, who was the boyfriend of Ms Graham's 15-year-old daughter Shannon and known to the family as Alex, could then potentially face a much stiffer sentence if found guilty.

The two friends, both aged 53 from Newry, were found murdered in woods 75 miles north of the holiday resort of Kusadasi.

Prayers for the victims were said in churches in the Turkish region and in Northern Ireland yesterday.

Sources have said the killings happened after Ms Graham refused the waiter's proposal to marry her daughter.

The two women suffered multiple stab wounds and their bodies were discovered in a forest near a graveyard to the east of the port city of Izmir.

While no formal charges have yet been brought against Cetin, police sources claim he has already confessed to the murders. It is believed he admitted to the brutal killings under interrogation, after first concocting a story the women had been kidnapped.

But the process of establishing his age could hamper future court proceedings.

In parts of Turkey it is not uncommon for births to be officially registered a number of months, sometimes years, after the actual birthday.

A source close to the investigation said police will have access to details on his age, but no official police statement has been made.

"It's a question of whether he'll be treated as a minor or an adult," said the source.

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