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4 July 2011, 11:52
A Japanese man has admitted raping and strangling British teacher Lindsay Ann Hawker in Tokyo but said he did not intend to kill her.
32 year old Tatsuya Ichihashi made the admission during the opening of his murder trial in Chiba, Japan today. He is charged with the murder of the 22 year old English teacher, who worked for a private language school on the East Asian island.
Miss Hawker was found dead in a sand filled bathtub on the balcony of Ichihashi's apartment near Tokyo in March 2007, Ichihashi was one of her students.
After her body was discovered, Ichihashi was eventually arrested in Osaka on November 10 2009 and remained in custody ever since.
Miss Hawker's parents Bill and Julia are attending the trial.
``I'm here to get justice for my daughter,'' Mr Hawker said. ``It's been a long time coming.''
The Japanese system means the Hawkers will be able to question Ichihashi and give their opinion on sentencing. They will also be able to ask to examine the prosecutions evidence.
In January Ichihashi promised to donate the proceeds of a book in which he confessed to the killing to Miss Hawker's family.
It detailed how he spent two and a half years on the run following the murder and how he underwent plastic surgery to change his appearance.
Ichihashi also apologised to Miss Hawker's family, claiming he wrote the book as ``a gesture of contrition for the crime I committed''.
While at large, Ichihashi said he travelled through 23 prefectures (states) across Japan and became obsessed with cosmetic surgery due to fears of his arrest - even attempting procedures on himself with scissors.
He also claimed to have embarked on a pilgrimage tour of temples on the south-western island of Shikoku, wishing Miss Hawker could ``come back to life''.
He was finally arrested in Osaka while waiting for a ferry to Okinawa.