Japanese Man Gets Life For Murder Of Leeds Graduate

A Japanese man's been sentenced to life for the rape and murder of Leeds Uni graduate Lindsay Hawker.

The 22 year old was found dead at Tatsuya Ichihashi's apartment in Ichikawa City, east of Tokyo, in March 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.

Miss Hawker's parents, Bill and Julia, and sisters, Lisa and Louise, flew into Tokyo's Narita airport 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.

Miss Hawker 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.