A Turkish waiter who murdered two Co Down women in a frenzied knife attack must spend a maximum of 30 years in jail for the brutal double murder, it has emerged.
Close friends Marion Graham, 54, from Newry, and 53-year-old Cathy Dinsmore, from Warrenpoint, were regular visitors to Turkey and had been on an extended holiday in Kusadasi on the Aegean Sea when they were killed.
Three judges in Izmir, Turkey, convicted Recep Cetin, 24, who hid the mutilated bodies in woods 75 miles from the seaside town of Kusadasi in August 2011.
After sentencing Baris Kaska, a lawyer representing the victims’ relatives, said: “This is the highest penalty that can be imposed.”
The killer’s father Eyup Cetin, a taxi driver, was acquitted of both counts of murder.
The victims’ families later spoke of their relief that the marathon ordeal was finally over.
George Dinsmore, Cathy’s brother, said they had finally got the justice they had been hoping for.
“We are very, very relieved,” he said.
“We got a verdict and the closure. That’s what we came here for and we have got it.”
Cetin, who was known to the women as Alex, had been dating Ms Graham’s 15-year-old daughter Shannon for two years.
It was claimed the waiter, who had become infatuated, was left furious after he was banned from marrying the teenager.
Determined to seek revenge, he lured the women to their deaths with the promise of a shopping trip having first arranged for Shannon to go on a fishing trip.
Their bloodied bodies were found buried in a shallow grave in woodland. They had been stabbed more than 50 times.
Ms Graham, who had more than 17 wounds, was stabbed through her heart while Ms Dinsmore suffered 35 injuries and had her throat cut.
Cetin initially tried to cover up the brutal double murder, claiming the women had been kidnapped. He tried to explain away a hand injury by saying he had fought off a gang of men who had bundled the women into a van.
But he was soon exposed as a liar when their bloodstained clothes were found in a bin near his family home.
After his arrest Cetin admitted to stabbing the women but denied murder. He also repeatedly maintained his father, who consistently protested his innocence, was not involved.
Over the past two years Cetin has tried to stall the complex Turkish legal process.
He falsely claimed to be aged 17 in an apparent attempt to be tried in the juvenile courts where sentences are lighter, but was ordered to undergo bone marrow tests which determined his age to be 22. His age was subsequently increased to 24.
Last month the judges dismissed claims he was insane.
Four judges initially heard the case but only three were involved in the verdict and sentencing. The hearing, which had been adjourned from last month, took about an hour.
Eyup Cetin, who has said he will sue over his detention, walked free from court after two of the three judges decided there was not enough evidence for a conviction.
Mr Kaska added: “There are still questions to be answered but we are satisfied with the outcome because this is the highest penalty in the Turkish legal system. There were no deductions for anything.
“Our focus was on Recep Cetin. My clients are pleased with the judges decision.”
The lawyer said: “Recep Cetin was given 30 years. It is the highest penalty he could get.”
Outside the court, Mrs Dinsmore’s nephew Robert said the family were satisfied with the outcome of the case.
“There will be an appeal process in relation to Eyup (Cetin) but as far as Recep is concerned we got the justice we have come for and we can go home satisfied.”
Most of Mrs Graham’s five children, including Shannon, were also in Turkey to hear the verdict.
Afterwards she expressed relief.
“(I am) just satisfied with the result,” she said.
During a previous court appearance in September, Cetin expressed regret for the killings, which he claimed were carried out because he was in love.
“I did not plan this in advance as the prosecution claim. I committed the murders under severe provocation. I did it so I would not lose my girlfriend.
“I only ask for a fair trial and hope God will forgive me,” he said.
Ulster Unionist MLA for Newry, Danny Kennedy, said he hoped the guilty verdict would bring some closure for the families of the two women.
“The tragic deaths of Marion Graham and Cathy Dinsmore outside Izmir in August 2011 shocked the entire community in the entire Newry and South Down area.
“I hope that today’s guilty verdict against Recep Cetin is of some comfort to the families of the two women and helps bring a degree of closure.
“Once again I would like to express my sympathies to the two families.”