Lindsay Hawker's killer loses appeal

By Dan Santy 11/04 Updated: 12/04 10:44

Buy photos » Tatsuya Ichihashi has lost an appeal against his life sentence. (s)

LINDSAY Hawker's Japanese killer has lost an appeal against his life sentence.

Tatsuya Ichihashi was last year found guilty of raping and murdering Brandon woman Miss Hawker before dumping her body in a bathtub filled with sand on the balcony of his Tokyo apartment in 2007.

Appealing for a reduction to his life sentence, Ichihashi's lawyers argued it was too harsh and repeated claims he had accidentally suffocated 22-year-old English teacher Miss Hawker after attacking her.

But judges at Tokyo's High Court rejected this and upheld the sentence given to Ichihashi, who went on the run for almost three years after the killing before he was finally caught.

Judge Yoshinobu Iida told Ichihashi - who stood hunched and facing down - he had 'not displayed sincere regret and remorse' and said the suffering done to his victim was 'beyond imagination'.

Ichihashi now has the right to appeal to Japan's Supreme Court after the decision.

Last month Miss Hawker's family slammed Ichihashi's appeal, her mother Julia saying he was not 'sorry for what he has done, only sorry he got caught'.

During his trial last year, 32-year-old Ichihashi admitted raping and killing Miss Hawker but claimed she died accidentally when he tried to muffle her screams.

Giving evidence, he said that after raping Miss Hawker he had sat with her for hours and begged her for forgiveness.

When Miss Hawker went missing in 2007, police went to his apartment and discovered her naked body, bound at the wrists, in a bathub filled with sand. An autopsy showed she had been suffocated.

Ichihashi managed to evade police and remained a fugitive for two years and eight months, going as far as having plastic surgery and even mutilating his own face to alter his appearance.

He was finally arrested in November 2009 at a port in Osaka and later wrote a book describing his life on the run, which included living on a tiny island near Okinawa where he lived off snakes and fish he had caught.

Ichihashi had offered to give any royalties made from the book to Miss Hawker's family. The offer was declined, with the family saying it had caused them 'pain and disgust'.

Buy photos» Lindsay Hawker was killed by Tatsuya Ichihashi in 2007 in a crime that shocked both Britain and Japan. (s)

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