Sunday 19 November 2017

Nicola Furlong’s mother robbed as she visited daughter’s grave

Nicola Furlong's family pictured in Tokyo: Andrew Furlong, Andrea Furlong (sister) and Angie Furlong.
Nicola Furlong's family pictured in Tokyo: Andrew Furlong, Andrea Furlong (sister) and Angie Furlong.

By Aishling Phelan

THE mother of murdered student Nicola Furlong was robbed as she visited her daughter’s grave.

Angie Furlong was visiting St Margaret’s cemetery in Curracloe, Co Wexford, on Sunday afternoon when her handbag as snatched from her car.

The cream handbag contained handwritten notes that Ms Furlong had used to record her thoughts in the tragic days after her daughter’s violent death in Tokyo in May last year.

Ms Furlong said all she wants back are the notes which contain precious thoughts and memories of her daughter.

Nicola (21), a DCU student, was on an exchange programme in Tokyo when she was strangled to death in a hotel room.

US musician Richard Hinds was convicted of her killing and the court heard how he carried the unconscious student to his hotel room.

Earlier Nicola had attended a Nicki Minaj concert with a friend.

Speaking to the Irish Independent today, Nicola's mother describes the purse that she is desperate to recover. 

“It is a cream bag with a gold metal clasp. I bought it during the trial when I felt like I needed to do something normal.”

But it’s not the bag that Angie despairs of most after the robbery. It is the heartfelt notes that she had written in the days and weeks after Nicola’s death.

“When Nicola died, the counsellors asked to put all my feelings down on paper: the anger, the sadness, everything. I had about 20 sheets of paper full of these thoughts along with two little angel brooches that Nicola had given me.”

The theft occurred at 2pm on Sunday afternoon as Angie made her daily visit to her daughter’s grave, something she has done every day since Nicola was buried.

"I parked about 60 yards from Nicola’s grave. It’s a small enough graveyard so I could actually see the car from where we were."

While her friend went to get water, Angie put the flowers they'd brought on Nicola’s grave.

"We pottered around the grave, practically walking past the car at some points. We stayed at the grave for maybe a half hour to 45 minutes."

Angie and her friend saw no one else around for the duration of their visit, either in the carpark or at the grave site.  

Without realising her bag was missing, Angie returned to her car and drove all the way home before realising it was gone.

After reporting the robbery to the local gardai, Angie drove back with her friend to search ditches and lanes nearby the graveyard in the hope that the bag was discarded after the theft.

Angie hopes that the media attention will appeal to the sensibilities of the person or persons who stole her bag.

“I had hoped they saw the name inside and that they would just return it. I mean everyone knows who I am – everyone around here knows me.

"They can still do that now – they can put the bag back back on Nicola’s grave without making themselves known.” 

Last March, a Tokyo Court found the 19 year-old Richard Hinds guilty of Nicola’s murder and sentenced him to five to 10 years in jail with labour.

He had carried the unconscious student back to his hotel room in the Keio Plaza Hotel in Shinjuku, Tokyo after having drinks with her in a bar.

Gardai in Wexford Garda Station are now investigating the theft and have asked anyone with information to contact Wexford gardai at 053 916 5200.

Irish Independent

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