A Turkish waiter accused of murdering two Northern Ireland holidaymakers has lost his challenge against a bone test that proves he should be tried as an adult and not a juvenile.
Recep Cetin, who claimed to be 17 at the time best friends Marion Graham and Kathy Dinsmore were stabbed to death in Izmir last year, had disputed the results of an initial bone test which found he was at least five years older.
Forensic experts in Istanbul who were brought in to give a second opinion have backed the initial findings.
Their report is to be presented to a court during a hearing on Friday when Cetin is expected to appear alongside his father Eyup Cetin, who is also accused of involvement in the murders.
A lawyer for the Graham and Dinsmore families said this was a significant step towards justice.
Baris Kaska said that as an adult, Recep Cetin — who was dating Ms Graham’s teen daughter at the time of the murders — faces 36 years behind bars if found guilty. If tried as a juvenile, he could have been freed in less than seven.
“This is a very important development for the two families. True justice would not be served if Recep Cetin was tried and sentenced in a youth court when we know he is an adult,” added Mr Kaska.
“Now we hope for justice. When the court receives this report Recep Cetin will be ordered before the adult court, which is a high penalty court.”
Ms Graham (54) and Ms Dinsmore (53), from Co Down, were stabbed to death in a forest on the outskirts of Izmir in August last year.
Cetin admitted to police that he had killed them.
The friends were spending the
summer in Kusadasi, about 100km from Izmir, when they were murdered.
Cetin had been sharing an apartment with the women and Shannon, whom he had known for a number of years.
Shannon, who was 15 at the time, was on a boat trip when the killings occurred.
Cetin initially told police that the women had been kidnapped by unknown men.
A few hours later he told police that he had stabbed the women, and brought police to the spot where their bodies had been abandoned.
The Graham and Dinsmore families have always had doubts about Cetin’s true age and were concerned justice would be denied if he was tried in a juvenile court.
In the area of Turkey where Cetin was born, many women have home births and there is therefore no accurate record of date of birth.
Best friends Marion Graham and Kathy Dinsmore, both from Newry, Co Down, were stabbed to death in the Turkish city of Izmir in August last year. They had been staying in the holiday resort of Kusadasi at the time. The Turkish waiter boyfriend of Ms Graham’s teenage daughter Shannon confessed to killing the women. He claimed to be 17 at the time of the murders. However, two bone marrow tests have concluded that he is at least five years older.