Nicola Furlong: 19-year-old to be tried as adult for murder
THE 19-year-old accused of murdering DCU student Nicola Furlong can be tried as an adult, a court in Tokyo has ruled.
A four hour hearing in Tokyo determined that Richard Hinds will face trial as an adult.
The DCU student, who was found dead in a Japanese hotel room earlier this year, had been due to complete her studies and return home this weekend.
Leaving court yesterday, after submitting victim impact statements, Andrew Furlong said the proceedings were “very difficult”. “All I can say is that all three of us are extremely emotional at this time,” he said at the Tokyo Family Court.
“It was far, far worse than anything we ever imagined. I sincerely hope no other parent ever has to go through anything like this. It was beyond anything we expected. “I don't want to say any more than that because I don't want to risk jeopardising the course of the court proceedings.”
Mr Hinds, an American musician, was initially treated as a juvenile under Japanese law. He has been charged with strangling the 21-year-old student in a Tokyo hotel in May following a Nicki Minaj concert in the city.
Because of the gravity of the offence, officials examined whether the proceedings should be moved to an adult court.
Due to the sensitive nature of the case, the family has been advised not to discuss details.
Mr Furlong did say they had been unable to see the accused’s face as he had been positioned with his back to the family. “That is how it is here. And we have been told not to talk about anything to do with the content of the hearings,” he said.
Mr Furlong, who attended with Nicola’s mother, Angie, and sister, Andrea, said he was unable to sleep the night before. “I was thinking that there is going to be all kinds of stuff we are going to hear and a lot of it things we don't want to listen to,” he said.
“It is even harder because this would have been about the time Nicola was due to return home from Japan.”
The business and Japanese language student was based at the Takasaki City University of Economics, 80 miles north of Tokyo, on a one-year exchange from Dublin City University. She and a friend, another Irish girl with whom she had been studying, had attended the concert in Tokyo.
Afterwards they met Mr Hinds and his friend James Blackston (23), also from the US. They went for a drink and later the Irish girls went back to their hotel.
CCTV footage showed Mr Hinds carrying Nicola into a wheelchair and wheeling her to his room. The musician later admitted to pressing Ms Furlong’s neck with his hands but insisted he had no intention of killing her.
Police believe he killed her after she refused to have sex.