Japan murder suspect issues written apology

Tatsuya Ichihashi is awaiting trial for the death of Lindsay Ann Hawker and has confessed to his ‘evil’ actions in a letter to her family…

The Japanese man awaiting trial for the murder of British teacher Lindsay Hawker in 2007 has confessed to his ‘evil’ actions in a letter to her family.

Tatsuya Ichihashi, 31, is awaiting trial for the killing, after being arrested at a ferry port in Osaka, southern Japan, last November.

Miss Hawker’s body was discovered in a sand-filled bath at the 31-year-old’s Tokyo apartment in March 2007. The 22-year-old, from Brandon, near Coventry, had been teaching in Japan after graduating from university in Leeds, and had been badly beaten before being strangled.

Tatsuya Ichihashi’s four-page letter is written in Japanese and English and was sent to Miss Hawker’s family in Britain, but they have refused to accept it because they believe it is a ploy to win leniency from the court when the trial opens next year, The Times reported.

A spokeswoman for the Hawker family said they had received a letter from a member of Ichihashi’s defence team a month ago on his behalf. She said the letter said Ichihashi was ‘very sorry’ but added: ‘The Hawker family does not believe a word of it and they do not wish to enter into any dialogue with Mr Ichihashi or his legal team.’

Ichihashi managed to evade eight police officers who arrived at the apartment to question him and was at large for two years and eight months before Japanese police finally apprehended him. He had been working as a casual labourer and saving money for a series of plastic surgery procedures that had radically altered his appearance.

In a series of pre-trial hearings, Ichihashi’s defence team has indicated he will plead guilty to rape, but will deny murder which can carry the death penalty in Japan. He insists that he had not meant to strangle her and was just trying to make her stay quiet.

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