Saturday 7 December 2019

Life for killer of British teacher in Tokyo

The family of Lindsay Hawker, pictured, had called for the death penalty
The family of Lindsay Hawker, pictured, had called for the death penalty

Tatsuya Ichihashi has been sentenced to life in prison for the murder of British teacher Lindsay Hawker in Tokyo in 2007.

Ichihashi, 32, admitted raping and strangling the English language teacher but said he did not intend to kill her.

The judges and jurors jointly hearing his murder trial at Chiba District Court sentenced him to life today.

Miss Hawker's parents, Bill and Julia, and sisters, Lisa and Louise, flew into Tokyo's Narita airport yesterday ahead of the hearing.

Clutching a small photograph of his daughter, Mr Hawker told Japanese reporters: "We expect to get the judgment we are hoping for."

At an earlier hearing he had asked the court to give Ichihashi the "heaviest punishment" possible.

Under Japanese law the killer could theoretically have received the death penalty, but prosecutors called for him to be jailed for life instead.

Leeds University graduate Miss Hawker, from Brandon, near Coventry, travelled to Japan in October 2006 to work as an English teacher with the Nova language school.

She was last seen alive after giving her killer an English lesson in a coffee shop on March 25 2007.

Ichihashi went on the run after Japanese police discovered the young teacher's battered and bound body buried naked in a sand-filled bathtub on the balcony of his flat.

He was finally arrested at a ferry terminal in the city of Osaka in western Japan in November 2009.

Ichihashi has since published a book in which he confessed to the killing and described how he underwent cosmetic surgery to change his appearance.

He claimed he wrote the work, called Until The Arrest, as a "gesture of contrition for the crime I committed" and has promised to donate all proceeds to Miss Hawker's family.

Ichihashi told his murder trial on July 4 that he enticed Miss Hawker into his apartment, raped her and then strangled her because he feared neighbours would hear her screams and call the police.

He admitted causing her death but said he did not intend to murder her and could not remember strangling her.

PA Media

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