Thursday 21 September 2017

Nicola Furlong: Dad lands in Tokyo looking for answers

Nicola's dad Andrew Furlong and uncle Denis Corrigan at Dublin airport as they depart for Tokyo. Photo: Collins
Nicola's dad Andrew Furlong and uncle Denis Corrigan at Dublin airport as they depart for Tokyo. Photo: Collins
Danny Furlong and his girlfriend Nicola Furlong
Nicola Furlong
Nicola Furlong

Independent.ie reporters

MURDERED student Nicola Furlong’s dad has begun an agonising quest in Japan, to get answers as to what happened to his daughter.

Andrew Furlong (42) arrived in Tokyo today with Nicola’s uncle Denis Corrigan to speak to Japanese police investigating the circumstances surrounding DCU student Nicola’s death in a Tokyo hotel on May 24th.

As soon as they landed they went straight to a meeting with police investigating the alleged indecent assault of Nicola’s friend.

Two Americans – dancer James Blackston (23) and an unnamed 19-year-old musician – are in custody charged with the attack.

They are being held at a daiyo kangoku, a substitute prison, situated in a Tokyo police station and it is understood that one or both may be charged in relation to Nicola’s death by strangulation in the next week.

They can be held for up to eight days more before charges have to be brought under Japanese law.

Speaking to reporters at Dublin airport before they departed, devastated Andrew Furlong said he was about to embark on “the toughest journey of my life”.

“I was never meant to go on this journey. It is a nightmare. My daughters were supposed to bury me, not the other way around.”

Nicola’s dad and uncle were met at the other side by representatives from the Irish embassy in Tokyo.

They travelled at the request of Japanese police who wanted to speak to the Wexford man.

Mr Furlong said that Japanese police had requested to meet with him: “They said they want to talk to me face to face and I hope they have some answers into how Nicola died.”

“We have consulted with senior Gardai and put together a list of questions we want to ask the police there,” Mr Furlong told the Irish Daily Mirror.

It is understood they police are looking for background on Nicola and her trip to Tokyo. The student had been there since last September and was in daily contact with her family.

The police station where Mr Fulong is talking to police in Tokyo, is the nearest one to Keio Plaza Hotel where the body of the languages and business student was discovered.

Nicola's dad and uncle are planning to visit the university in Takasaki where the exchange student was spending 10 months.

They intend to visit her room there, but said they would not be visiting the hotel where Nicola’s body was discovered in a room in the early hours of May 24.

The student had attended a Nicki Minaj concert with a friend and had gone to the hotel for dinner and drinks afterwards with two men they met at the concert.

It is suspected by police that their driks may have been spiked.

Mr Furlong said: “I don’t think we will travel to the hotel, I think that would be a step too far. But we will try to bring back some of her stuff. She had two laptops out there. I want to get into her room. That will be the most difficult part.”

He explained to reporters that he wanted the laptop computer as he had bought it for his daughter and knew there were nice photos of her saved on it.

The father-of-two said in the departures lounge: “I can’t wait to get home to my other daughter Andrea, and we are not even out of Dublin.”

Earlier in the week the distraught boyfriend of Nicola Danny Furlong (22) told the Irish Independent that Nicola's homecoming next month should have been the "happiest day of our lives".

"I always said that the day she was home would have been the happiest day of both of our lives," said Danny, a promising young footballer, adding that the couple had planned to go on a sun holiday together.

Danny helped carry Nicola's pink coffin to the church in Wexford for her funeral Mass last Sunday.

Nicola’s dad and uncle are expected to make the 9,500 mile return to Ireland next Tuesday.

Mr Furlong said he expects to be returning again to Tokyo for a trial along with her friend who was assaulted the night of Nicola's murder, although it is believed she recalls little of the attack.

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