Hawker Family Welcome Appeal Defeat

11 April 2012, 09:46

The killer of British teacher Lindsay Hawker has lost an appeal against his life sentence for her murder.

33 year old Tatsuya Ichihashi, was jailed for life last year for raping and strangling 22 year old Lindsay, at his flat in Japan in March 2007.

His lawyers claimed he didn’t intend to kill her, but Tokyo High Court today upheld his sentence.

Miss Hawker's family didn’t go to the hearing, but said in a statement: “We are relieved that the original decision was upheld and that Ichihashi's appeal was refused.''

Leeds University graduate Miss Hawker, from Brandon, near Coventry, went to Japan in October 2006 to work as a 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 found the young teacher's battered and bound body buried naked in a sand-filled bath on the balcony of his flat in Ichikawa City, east of Tokyo.

A massive manhunt was launched, with police offering a 10 million yen (£77,700) reward and putting up wanted posters around the country.

He was finally arrested at a ferry terminal in the city of Osaka in western Japan in November 2009 as he waited for a ferry to Okinawa.

Ichihashi wrote a book in which he confessed to the killing and wrote about how he had lots of plastic surgery to try and disguise himself.

He says he wrote the book, called Until The Arrest, as a “gesture of contrition for the crime I committed'' and said he wanted to donate all proceeds to Miss Hawker's family.

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

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

Lindsays dad Bill previously called for her killer to be given the “heaviest punishment'' possible under Japanese law – which is the death penalty - but said his family had achieved justice after the killer was convicted.

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