Stab victim's daughter to fly home
Published 22/08/2011 | 09:00
The teenage daughter of a woman murdered with her best friend on holiday in Turkey is expected back home in Northern Ireland tonight.
Shannon Graham is to arrive in Belfast this evening with her father Raymond McGuinness and brother David as police continue to try to establish the true age of the prime suspect.
Turkish waiter Recep Cetin, who had been in a relationship with Shannon, was arrested over the killing of Co Down women Marion Elizabeth Graham and Kathy Dinsmore.
He has claimed he is 17 but prosecutors have raised doubts and if older he would be treated as an adult if charged with the double murder.
It could be Wednesday before arrangements are finalised to repatriate the two women's bodies.
A niece and nephew of Ms Dinsmore's are expected to remain in Turkey for another day.
Uncertainty over the exact age of Cetin, known to the family as Alex, could have major implications on a potential punishment and if found guilty he could face a much stiffer sentence.
The two women, 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, including having their throats cut, 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, particularly the south-east of the country, it is apparently 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. They should also be able to establish if he has completed National Service which is normally enforced from age 18 for two years.
Mr McGuinness, Ms Graham's ex-partner, has been in Turkey since Saturday with Ms Graham's son David. Ms Dinsmore's niece and nephew Ruby and Robert flew in yesterday.
Ireland's Ambassador to Turkey Tom Russell will be in Izmir, where Cetin is being questioned, tomorrow and will act as liaison for the families.
A spokesman for the Department of Foreign Affairs in Dublin said repatriation is not expected until Wednesday at the earliest. A private company will organise flights out of a Turkish resort near Izmir and transport to the family homes in Newry.
Cetin remains in custody. It is understood his father and a taxi driver were also arrested, but have been released.
The women travelled with the waiter out of Kusadasi on Thursday after Shannon went on a boat trip.
The alarm was raised on Thursday when the waiter, said to have been in a distressed state, arrived for work at a restaurant in the town.
He claimed he had suffered a cut to his hand trying to fight off kidnappers who had bundled the two women into a van. They had not been reported missing from their extended holiday at this stage.
It is understood Cetin had been involved in a separate row with Shannon's mother last week.
The two women had been regular visitors to Kusadasi for years.