Family of murdered Lindsay Hawker see killer get life in jail
The long, harrowing journey for the grieving family of Lindsay Hawker finally ended yesterday when the man who raped and strangled the English teacher was sentenced to life in prison.
Tatsuya Ichihashi, 32, throttled Miss Hawker after a sustained attack at his Tokyo flat in 2007 but a Japanese court rejected the victim's family's request that he should be hanged, saying there was still a chance the killer could be rehabilitated.
"Perhaps he has a chance to make a new start, or to be corrected," said Judge Masaya Hotta as the victim's father, Bill Hawker, sat in court and shook his head. Mr Hawker later said he was "pleased" with the outcome.
"We have been waiting for this day for a long time," he said, flanked by his wife Julia, and their two daughters Louise and Lisa. Holding a picture of his dead daughter, he thanked the Japanese and British police for catching her killer. "Lindsay loved Japan, and you have not let her down," he said.
Ichihashi trapped Miss Hawker, 22, inside his flat after badgering her into giving him a private English lesson. He lured her inside by saying he had forgotten his wallet, and attacked her, binding her hands and feet with plastic strips. Afterwards, he put her in his bathtub and repeatedly punched her to stop her cries.
After killing her, Ichihashi bought compost, sand and chemicals, stripped her body and stuffed her into his bath, leaving a single arm protruding. He dragged the bath out onto his balcony to slowly decompose.
Some speculated that the young botanist intended to grow flowers in the bath to speed up decomposition.
Ichihashi fled after the killing sparked one of the longest manhunts ever in Japan. He performed makeshift facial surgery on himself to avoid capture, snipping off moles and part of his lips with scissors.
Later he paid for several operations that changed his appearance before he was spotted trying to board a ferry to Japan's remote southernmost prefecture of Okinawa in November 2009.
- 1 James Foley 'beheaded': Isis video shows militant with British accent 'execute US journalist' – and warns Obama of more to come
- 2 ALS ice bucket challenge co-founder Corey Griffin drowns aged 27
- 3 Cilla Black defends Cliff Richard: 'I am positive that the allegations are without foundation'
- 4 Nicki Minaj finally releases predictable 'Anaconda' video
- 5 James Foley 'beheading': Met police warn public watching murder video could be criminal offence
Scottish independence: English people overwhelmingly want Scotland to stay in the UK
Isis threat: Cameron wants an alliance with Iran
Crisis? What crisis? A visiting US doctor gives the NHS a rave review
Michael Brown shooting: Chaos erupts on the streets of Ferguson after autopsy shows teenager was shot six times – twice in the head
Richard Dawkins on babies with Down Syndrome: 'Abort it and try again – it would be immoral to bring it into the world'
Scottish Independence Referendum: Salmond described as 'arrogant, ambitious and dishonest' by Scottish women
£45000 per annum: Harrington Starr: Quantitative Analyst (Financial Services, ...
Negotiable: Harrington Starr: Application Support Engineer (C++, .NET, VB, Per...
Negotiable: Harrington Starr: C# .NET Software Developer (Client-Side, SQL, VB...
£40000 - £60000 per annum + Benefits + Bonus: Harrington Starr: C# Developer (...