Police arrest man over death of boy in Turkish café

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The Independent Online

A man was arrested yesterday by police hunting the killer of a two-year-old British boy who was shot in a violent argument at a restaurant in Turkey.

Alistair Grimason, who was on a six-week visit with his Turkish mother to her parents, was asleep in his pushchair on Monday when the argument broke out between four men sitting yards from his family as they ate a meal in the village of Foca, near the west coast city of Izmir.

Alistair's mother, Ozlem, tried to flee the café when one of the men began firing, but the boy was hit by a bullet and died soon afterwards. A police spokesman in Izmir said one man had also been killed and two others critically injured by the gunman.

The spokesman said: "The family are very upset but we are talking to them in the hope they can describe what happened and the man who did it so we can catch him quickly."

David Grimason, 31, the toddler's father, arrived in Turkey yesterday from the family home in East Kilbride, Lanarkshire, to be reunited with his wife. He had returned to Scotland last Friday after spending two weeks with his wife and son at his in-laws' holiday home.

Mr Grimason, a printer, said: "Alistair was our everything. We had so many plans for the future. We don't know what to do without Alistair. I don't know how we are going to overcome our grief."

Ms Grimason, who met her husband when he was on holiday in Turkey eight years ago, said: "I heard a shot. I have no idea how the bullet managed to get through and hit him."

Mark Grimason, the dead boy's uncle, said his brother had been left in a state of "total shock" by the tragedy. "When the gunfire went off, the restaurant was evacuated and only then did Ozlem spot blood on the pram," he said. "Alistair had been hit and he was dead."

Turkish authorities said they were awaiting completion of the post-mortem examination before releasing Alistair's body so that he could be flown home for the funeral.

Earlier yesterday detectives in Foca said they were confident that they would bring the killer to justice. A police spokesman said: "We know who he is and we will catch him."

He went on: "A car dealer from Izmir was in the restaurant with an acquaintance when they started having a row. The car dealer pulled out a gun and started shooting. He shot dead the man he was having a row with and seriously injured two other men, as well as the baby."

A nationwide alert was issued for Daimi Aslan, 32, a car dealer, who was named as the prime suspect for the shooting.

Locals said gangland shootings were rare but that it was not unusual to see Turkish men carrying guns.

Alistair and his mother, 27, had been planning to spend a further four weeks in Turkey before returning home. The boy's parents married four years ago in Turkey and set up home in East Kilbride, from where Ms Grimason commuted to her job in computing at Glasgow University

The boy's grandfather, David Grimason Snr, said: "Alistair was a lovely wee baby ... Everyone remarked on how handsome he was."

He said his daughter-in-law had been talking recently about wanting to leave Scotland because she felt it was a dangerous place to bring up her son.

"She felt it was crime-ridden and that children here were rude and spraying graffiti everywhere. She said you didn't get that in Turkey ­ and look what's happened," he said.

"We are all just shattered ... my son is in such a state. Both he and Ozlem are just going round in circles."