Families want age test on Turkish murders suspect
Pressure from senior politicians will today be exerted on a Turkish court to ensure proper justice is applied in the case against a waiter accused of murdering Marion Graham and Kathy Dinsmore.
Suspicions over the accurate age of their self-confessed killer, who is claiming to be a juvenile, are likely to dominate the first stage of the double murder trial which is due to be heard in the Turkish city of Izmir today.
Letters from five politicians - including MPs Margaret Ritchie and Conor Murphy - will be presented to the judge overseeing the case urging him to order a scientific test to determine the accused man's true age.
The victims' families have said they have evidence to prove that he is older than 17 and should be tried and sentenced in an adult court. Today they will make an application to the court demanding that a bone test be carried out on Recep Cetin, which will give an accurate indication of his age.
Ms Graham's teenage daughter Shannon is today also due to appear in court to give evidence against her ex-boyfriend who confessed to stabbing her 54-year-old mother and Ms Dinsmore (53) in August.
Cetin is also expected to give evidence to the court.
If the judge agrees to a bone test the case will be postponed. And if the families' suspicions are confirmed Cetin will be tried in an adult court where he would face a significantly higher sentence.
SDLP MP Margaret Ritchie, Sinn Fein MP Conor Murphy, DUP MLA William Irwin, Sinn Fein MLA Mickey Brady and Mayor of Newry and Mourne Charlie Casey, have written letters to the court supporting the families in their call for the bone test.
"I share the concerns of the families who want to ensure that proper justice is served in this case, " said Ms Ritchie.
She added: "Both families have endured so much since August. It is only right and proper that this case is dealt with in a just way and that means ensuring the accused is dealt with in the appropriate court."
Baris Kaska, a lawyer representing the families, said he hoped that the pressure from politicians would encourage the court to order the test.
The family had a set back previously when a prosecution lawyer decided not to apply for the test - even though Cetin's father is understood to have told police his son was older than 17.
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.
"I am nervous that the judge will not agree to the application. We know that he (Cetin) is older and we want the scientific proof. He should not be allowed to escape justice by appearing before a juvenile court," said Mr Kaska.
Ms Dinsmore was stabbed up to 35 times and Ms Graham stabbed 17 times in a remote park on the outskirts of Izmir. Their bodies were discovered the next day when Cetin confessed to police and brought them to the scene.
He initially claimed he stabbed the women because he was afraid they wanted to break up him and Shannon. He later claimed that the women attacked him first.
Best friends Marion Graham and Kathy Dinsmore, from Newry, Co Down, were stabbed to death in the Turkish city of Izmir in August. 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. His victims' families believe the killer is older than 17 and are campaigning for him to be tried in an adult court.