Turkish judge orders age test for accused

 

A JUDGE has ruled a Turkish man accused of stabbing two Northern Irish women to death earlier this year must have a bone marrow test to determine his age.

Questions were raised about the age of Recep Cetin, who is charged with the murders of Marion Graham (54) and Cathy Dinsmore (53) in the western Turkish city of Izmir in August.

The bodies of the pair, from Newry and Warrenpoint respectively, were found in woods on the outskirts of the city on August 18th. Ms Dinsmore was stabbed up to 35 times and Ms Graham was stabbed 17 times. Ms Graham’s throat was also cut.

Mr Cetin, who was the boyfriend of Marion Graham’s 15- year-old daughter Shannon at the time, claims he is 17, meaning he would be tried as a youth and face a more lenient sentence if found guilty of the murders. However, lawyers for the families of the victims believe he is older and want him tried as an adult.

At a three-hour preliminary court hearing in Izmir yesterday, a Turkish judge ruled Mr Cetin, who has been in a high-security detention centre since being accused of the crime, would have to submit to the test.

Several letters from Northern politicians, including SDLP South Down MP Margaret Ritchie and Sinn Féin Newry and Armagh MLA Mickey Brady, were delivered to the court urging the judge to order the test.

“I share the concerns of the families who want to ensure that proper justice is served in this case,” said Ms Ritchie.

“It is only right and proper this case is dealt with in a just way and that means ensuring the accused is dealt with in the appropriate court,” she said.

Mr Brady, who knew both victims, said he was pleased the judge had ordered the test to be carried out.

“We offer our full-hearted support to the families of Marion Graham and Cathy Dinsmore and are glad this application was successful.

“I have been in regular contact with the families of Marion and Cathy since the murders.

“The families want justice and it is crucial that not only is justice done but that it is seen to be done,” he said.