An American musician denied murdering Irish exchange student Nicola Furlong on the first day of his trial in Tokyo today. Richard Hinds, 19, a keyboard player for several top R&B acts, is accused of drugging Ms Furlong, 21, and strangling her in an upmarket Tokyo hotel last year.
Mr Hinds admitted “lightly pressing” Ms Furlong’s neck in his hotel room after what his defence team called “rough sex”, but denied killing her. “I do not believe I was the cause of her death because the pressure was too light,” Mr Hinds told the Tokyo District Court. “I had no intent, motive or reason to hurt, harm or kill her.”
Ms Furlong had been studying business and Japanese at a university about 100km outside Tokyo. Her parents are in Tokyo for the two-week trial. “I’ve been dreading coming,” her mother Angela said. “I believe the first few days will be the hardest because we’re going to hear minute-by-minute what happened.”
The prosecution said that Mr Hinds used a bath towel to strangle his victim on 24 May last year. The court heard that a towel found in the hotel room contained his DNA.
The verdict for Mr Hinds is due on 19 March.