Sunday 22 April 2018

'No remorse' - Japanese officials refuse to release killer of Wexford student Nicola Furlong

Richard Hinds and, inset, Nicola Furlong
Richard Hinds and, inset, Nicola Furlong
Nicola Furlong’s father Andrew Furlong, mother Angela and sister Andrea (centre), leave court after the sentencing
Nicola Furlong's father Andrew, mother Angela (R) and sister Andrea (C), leave Tokyo's District Court. Inset: Richard Hinds

Fionnuala Walsh

Japanese officials have refused to release the killer of Wexford student Nicola Furlong, despite the fact he reached the end of his five year sentence two months ago.

Killer Richard Hinds failed to rehabilitate in jail, even after undergoing a five year “regime of classes and interviews” in a Japanese prison.

The program at Fuchu Prison was designed to create a sense of remorse for the murder, but Japanese experts said they only have a “moderate expectation” Hinds can be rehabilitated.

Documents obtained by the Sunday World also detail how prison authorities have not been impressed with Hinds’ attitude while serving his sentence.

Nicola Furlong’s father Andrew Furlong, mother Angela and sister Andrea (centre), leave court after the sentencing
Nicola Furlong’s father Andrew Furlong, mother Angela and sister Andrea (centre), leave court after the sentencing

“The thought he could have been out living his life at 24 years of age was sickening to me,” said Nicola’s dad Andrew Furlong.

He said was happy that Japanese authorities have exercised their right to keep Hinds in continuing custody and hopes he will be remanded in custody for the maximum 10 year term.

Hinds would have been eligible for release in November of last year, but Hinds ruined that chance after failing to convince authorities he was genuinely remorseful for Nicola’s murder.

Read more: Richard Hinds smiled and winked at parents just before sentencing

Authorities are able to keep him locked up until November 2022, in accordance with his sentence.

Mr Hinds' original sentence of minimum five years in prison was criticised for being too short, but the fact that he had no previous criminal record and that he 19 when he murdered Nicola, an age considered legally a minor in Japan, were factors in deciding the sentence.

The father of murdered 21-year-old student Nicola Furlong, who was killed while on an exchange year in Tokyo, Japan, in May 2012, has also expressed his sorrow for the horror being endured by the family of Karen Buckley
The father of murdered 21-year-old student Nicola Furlong, who was killed while on an exchange year in Tokyo, Japan, in May 2012, has also expressed his sorrow for the horror being endured by the family of Karen Buckley

“I have never believed a man capable of doing what that monster did to my daughter is capable of changing,” Andrew said.

“He preyed on an unconscious and helpless girl, my beautiful Nicola,and subjected her to a horrific death,” he said.

“This report shows that even the experts assessing him in prison in Japan have little or no confidence in the work they have done to change him.”

“The Japanese authorities let us down when they gave him a sentence of just five to 10 years for Nicola's murder. I hope they will not let us down again.”

Read more: Boyfriend of murdered Irish student Nicola Furlong slams attacker's partying lifestyle

Shocking details of the horrific ordeal suffered by student Nicola and a close friend at the hands of Hinds and his date rape accomplice James Blackston emerged during Hinds’ trail in March 2013.

Nicola, the 23-year-old from Curracloe in Wexford, was strangled to death by Hinds at the Keio Plaza Hotel in Tokyo on May 24, 2012.

Despite Hinds giving evidence on his own behalf in which he lied repeatedly about the events leading up to Nicola’s murder, the trial revealed that he intended on raping his victim after carrying her unconscious back to his hotel room and murdered her when she called out for help.

During the sentencing, the trial’s chief judge said, “it can be recognised that the defendant suffocated the victim to death by strangling her with a towel or a string-like item with the intention of killing her.”

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