Saturday 21 October 2017

Family relive Nicola horror as murder trial begins

Fergus Black

THE family of murdered Irish exchange student Nicola Furlong are preparing to relive the horror of her death as they face her alleged killer across a courtroom.

"We are going to see it through -- we wouldn't want to have any regrets," said Nicola's father, Andrew Furlong, from his Tokyo hotel.

He was speaking on the eve of the murder trial that begins today and is expected to last about two weeks, with judgment expected on March 19.

American musician Richard Hinds (19) is accused of murdering Ms Furlong (21), from Curracloe, Co Wexford, in a Tokyo hotel last May.

Ms Furlong and an Irish friend were studying at Dublin City University and both women had come to Japan as exchange students at a university north of Tokyo.

Mr Furlong, together with his wife Angela and daughter Andrea, flew out to Tokyo last week in preparation for the trial.

"The plan is to sit through every day (of the trial). Andrea will be sitting in the public gallery with a few friends we have over and Angie and I will be sitting with two lawyers beside the prosecution," Mr Furlong said.

He said the opening days of the trial will be hard as evidence and CCTV footage details the last days of Nicola's life. Footage will include that taken from a bar on the night of the killing and also footage taken from a taxi on the way to the hotel where Nicola was later found.

"That's not going to be easy but there's no point in coming all the way over here and not going to court. We saw Nicola in her coffin and I don't think anything else could be any worse."

Despite the fact that the trial was only hours away, Mr Furlong managed to take his mind off the impending ordeal by tuning into the radio to follow Wexford's football encounter against Derry yesterday.

"I must be the only man walking around Tokyo wearing a Wexford tracksuit," he joked.

"The trial would bring some closure but only to what happened in Japan", said Mr Furlong.

"Once this (the trial) is over, there will never be closure for the whole thing.

"When you come here you are hoping against hope that justice will prevail. We are looking for justice.

"You never think something like this will ever happen to you, that it will happen on your own doorstep."

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