Recep Cetin and his father Eyup, 43, appeared before the High Criminal Court in Izmir as their trial resumed on 29/12/12.
Recep is accused of killing Marion Graham and Kathy Dinsmore, both 53 and from Newry, Co Down, in woodland near the holiday resort where they were staying in Kusadasi, Turkey.
He reiterated a claim he made during a previous hearing in November that the killings were committed in self defence and that he had no other option.
Recep, who was in a relationship with Ms. Graham’s daughter Shannon at the time of the murders also claimed that the victims attempted to stab him with knives and that he had been suffering with mental health problems and this had blurred his memory of the incident. In the last hearing, Recep’s lawyer Altan Tunali asked him whether he still claimed the murders committed while Shannon was on a boat trip were done in self defence.
Recep stated “I forgot to mention this because I have been suffering with mental health problems. They attacked me with knives first so I reacted in self defence”.
“They were also the ones who arranged the boat trip for Shannon on the day of the murders”. Recep then went on to tell the court that his father Eyup, who denies playing any part in the murders on that day, was not present when the incident happened in August 2011.
He said: “My father has nothing to do with the incident. If my father was involved, he wouldn’t be here now, he would have fled. I ask you to release him.”
The dramatic and tragic hearing was eventually adjourned by judges until February so that the testimony of security force officials, who arrived at the crime scene first, could be heard.
They also ordered that the testimony of two secret witnesses who were present alongside another secret witness who gave evidence in an earlier hearing could be taken into account.
The first secret witness claimed he saw Eyup Cetin at the scene of the murder and his two friends also place him at the scene.
They initially refused to give evidence for fear of reprisals, but are now willing to take the stand.
From a video screen with their face and voice obscured to protect their identity, the first witness told a previous hearing in September: “I was walking away from the cemetery, when I heard the screams of two women.
“By the time I reached the road near the cemetery, I walked behind two men but they didn’t see me. The young one was wearing a red t-shirt and the other one was wearing a green t-shirt.
“A day later I read about the murders in the newspaper and I understood that those were the men I saw the previous night.
“I went to the gendarmerie regional command to give a statement.
“I did not see the women, but I heard them screaming.
“Two of my friends were with me at the time, I heard the voices, but I did not think someone was being killed.”
But Eyup’s defence lawyer, Aydogan Yolyapan, said there was no solid evidence proving his client was involved in the murders.
He said: “The prosecution will eventually find that my client, Eyup Cetin, is innocent. The first secret witness gave conflicting statements and there is no evidence pointing to Eyup’s involvement in the murders.
“We appealed to the court for an open hearing of two other secret witnesses and a new investigation of the scene. The court rejected this and this cost us two months.
“Judges now approved these upon the request of prosecution. In the end, my client will be acquitted.” Ms Graham and daughter Shannon regularly travelled to Turkey, where Shannon met Cetin and formed a relationship.
The two were said to have been in a relationship for two and a half years while the family spent their summers in the Turkish resort. By August 2011 Cetin asked Shannon to marry him which put an immense amount of pressure on their relationship. Ms. Graham is said to have been upset and unhappy with this so asked the help of her friend Kathy Dinsmore, the pair agreed to drive with Cetin on a shopping trip to try and persuade him to wait until he and Shannon were older and then consider marriage to each other as it is a huge commitment, it is alleged he drove them to woods and stabbed Ms. Graham in the chest and then went on to cut Ms. Dinsmore’s throat.
Recep initially told police he was 17, but a DNA test later revealed he was around five years older.
The trial has been adjourned until February 20th 2013.