British family fights for justice in Antalya
İpek Yezdani - firstname.lastname@example.org
The father of Andrew Smyth believes his son was robbed and murdered after ingesting a spiked drink at a night club in Side.Chris Smyth, a devastated British father whose son Andrew Smyth, 32, was found dead four years ago in a forest in the southern city of Antalya, is preparing for a legal battle against a recent non-suit verdict in the case by a local court.
The younger Smyth’s body was discovered on Sept. 12, 2010 in the Sorgun forest outside Side, near the popular Turkish holiday resort of Antalya.
Chris Smyth believes his son was robbed and murdered after ingesting a spiked drink at a night club in Side. The family believes the alleged murder was covered up and it has offered a reward of 15,000 Turkish Liras to anyone who provides concrete information or evidence to help solve the alleged murder.
The prosecution in Antalya concluded that the cause of Andrew Smyth’s death was a heroin overdose, but his father bitterly contests this claim.
“Andrew, a healthy, fit young man of 32 who went to the gym four times a week, was found dead deep within the Sorgun forest. When his body was found, his face and shirt were covered with blood. The photos also show that his shoes were heavily scuffed, suggesting that he had been dragged. Even though it was clear that Andrew had been badly beaten, the decision was immediately taken that there were no suspicious circumstances surrounding the death,” Chris Smyth said.
He added that after Andrew’s body was found, his clothes disappeared and the forensic examination on the body was delayed by two days. There were also attempts to use his bank card up to two days after his death.
“The photos we have of Andrew’s body show a substantial amount of blood on his shirt, but this was never tested. Mysteriously, his clothes from that night have disappeared too, and Andrew’s bank statement shows that someone attempted to use his bank card on Sept. 12, 2010, when the card was in the hands of the gendarmerie. Despite all the evidence we have that points to murder, including photos of Andrew’s body, last month a non-suit verdict was given. I want to see the murderer or murderers of my son before the court before I die,” said Chris Smyth, who suffers from heavy cardiovascular disease.
Following the post-mortem report that indicated the cause of the death was a heroin overdose, the Smyth family hired an independent, pre-eminent pathologist from Serbia, Dr. Ivica Milosavljevic, for an independent forensic report.
“Dr. Milosavljevic has conducted over 7,000 post-mortems and has experience examining all multitudes of violent deaths. In his report, he stated categorically that Andrew did not die from a drug overdose, but from blunt force head trauma, probably caused by a blow from a baseball bat or similar object,” Chris Smyth said.
Andrew’s stepmother, Lynne Cannon, flew to Istanbul in order to explain to daily Hurriyet what they have been going through for the last four years.
“When we first visited here, we fell in love with Turkey and in April 2008, we bought an apartment at the Oasis complex in Side for our planned retirement in 2010. My son Andrew was in need of a holiday, so we encouraged him to go to Turkey, telling him that he would love it and that, of course, he could use our apartment. Andrew flew out on Sept. 3, 2010. We received a telephone call from the apartment manager on the morning of Sept. 13. The manager said Andrew’s body had been found in the Sorgun Forest. I flew to Antalya the next day and I identified Andrew’s body on Sept. 15. His face was all black,” Cannon said.
She claimed that the area where Andrew’s body was found was not treated as a crime scene, no forensic investigations were conducted, and no DNA samples were taken.
“Andrew’s body was not properly cared for and was allowed to continue decomposing. The post-mortem was delayed, which led to the following statement in the Turkish post mortem report: ‘The exact reason of death cannot be determined due to advanced stages of putrefaction.’ The report also said that urine tests revealed the presence of 6-MAM. This is a well-known drug used for spiking drinks,” Cannon added.
Fikret Hakgüden, Chris Smyth’s lawyer in Turkey, said the non-suit verdict by the prosecution was not the final decision for the case. “The verdict has not been formally provided to us yet, but we will definitely object to it after we receive it,” he added.