Belfast Telegraph

Murder in Turkey: Victim said killer was ‘a good boy’

Cabbie tells of women's fatal trip to Izmir and how he took prime suspect to hospital believing he had cut himself by accident

By Deborah McAleese

As Marion Graham stepped into a taxi with Kathy Dinsmore to journey to their deaths, she placed a hand on Turkish waiter Recip Cetin's shoulder and said: "He's a good boy".

Taxi firm owner Moustafa Karatay - who arranged the trip to the Turkish city of Izmir from the resort of Kusadasi for the two women and teenage murder suspect Cetin - was one of the last people to see the best friends alive.

Cetin, who was dating Marion's daughter Shannon, has confessed to murdering the two women in a frenzied knife attack in a wooded area near Izmir on Thursday afternoon.

In an exclusive interview with the Belfast Telegraph in Kusadasi, Moustafa, who was arrested on suspicion of assisting in the murders but later released without charge, revealed:

* Cetin asked him for a taxi so that he could take the two women to Izmir for a short trip;

* How Marion was affectionate towards her daughter's 17 year-old boyfriend, who they had nicknamed Alex, as they got into the car;

* That when they failed to show for their return fare Cetin called him to say they were already on their way back;

* He drove Cetin and Shannon to the hospital believing that he had accidentally cut his hand with a knife.

Moustafa said: "I feel sad and ashamed by what happened. I was not involved in this but I feel guilty because it was my car that took them to where they were killed."

Pointing to a photograph of Marion in a local newspaper he added: "She was a very good lady. She was always smiling. I have known them all for about two years and would often drive for them."

Moustafa said that Cetin called him at 9.30am on Thursday needing a taxi: "I told him I was on my way to the airport and he said he would call me back. At about 10.30am he called back and asked me to pick him up at his house.

"I went there at about 11.10am. He had been staying in that house for about two months with Shannon, her mother and her mother's friend.

"When they came out I remember I shook (Marion's) hand and asked them where they were going and he told me Izmir. They were all smiling."

Moustafa said that he was too tired to drive to the city so he arranged for one of his drivers to take them in his car.

"As he (Cetin) was getting into the front she (Marion) put her hand on his shoulder and said 'he's a good boy'. She would say things like that about him.

"The two women then got into the back. There was nothing about them that made me think something was wrong.

"My driver also said that when they were in the car for the drive there was no argument or problem."

The driver dropped them off at a market Cetin's father owns in Izmir around 1pm, to return for them around 2pm. Moustafa said they never showed.

"My driver, he called me at about 2.05pm and said they were not back. I said that maybe the market people would know where they were, so I asked him to speak with Eyup, the father of the boy. On the phone I asked Eyup where he was. He told me they had gone back to Kusadasi.

"I told my driver to come back and I tried to call the boy back because I was angry with him for not being there. My driver had been waiting. When I called about 2.15pm his phone was off.

"A little while later, maybe 2.30pm, he called me back and said, 'I'm sorry, I turned back to Kusadasi'."

Shortly before 6pm that evening Moustafa said he received another call from Cetin asking for a lift to the hospital.

"He said he had hurt his hand with a knife and said he had to go to the hospital. I got up and went. When I arrived there was a lot of people at the front of the house. I went into the house and Shannon and the boy were there. Shannon tried to put a bandage on his hand. I asked what happened he said, 'nothing. I cut my hand'.

"I asked Shannon what happened and she told me, 'my mum is lost'. There were police there and they asked him what happened and he said a car came to kidnap his mother-in-law (Marion) and they stabbed him and then went away."

A policeman told Moustafa he could take Cetin and Shannon to hospital. He said they did not talk much in the car, but that Shannon kept telling Cetin that he would be ok when he complained about pain in his hand.

"I left them there and went back home. At about 8.05pm police phoned me from the boy's phone and asked who I was, what was my job and if I knew the boy. He asked me if I had taken him anywhere today and I said the hospital. He asked me if I had taken him anywhere before the hospital and I said no. He then told me to come to the police station."

Moustafa went to the police station in Kusadasi where he was questioned before being transferred into police custody in Izmir.

He was detained for almost two days, but later released without charge.

He said the last time he saw Shannon was in Izmir police station at around 8pm on Thursday evening. At that stage she had still not been told that her mother had been murdered.

"When police told me what had happened I was in shock. There was no row in front of me or my driver. I feel shame, even though I did not have any connection with this trouble.

"I have been a taxi driver here for over 12 years. People know me and my character. But my name has now been linked to this and my family and friends have been calling asking what is going on.

"I even had some customers from Ireland who cancelled a booking with me because they saw I was connected.

"I feel sad, sorry, down, depressed about this trouble. It was my car that made this happen. They were very good women. It is too sad."

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