Since the age of about 6 or 7 I’d say, I’ve had glasses almost permanently attached to my face. The first thing I do in the morning is reach over and put them on, and the last thing I do at night before falling asleep is take them off. The only time I don’t wear [...]
Posts Tagged ‘tatsuyo ichihashi’
Over 18 months have passed since his arrest and it has been over 4 years since English teacher Lindsay Ann Hawker’s body was found in a bathtub covered with sand on a Tokyo balcony. The suspect, Tatsuya Ichihashi, infamously succeeded in evading capture by running past 9 police officers who went to his door and running barefoot away down the street. During his time in custody Ichihashi has written and published a book about his two years of evading capture, how sad he felt during the time and about his obsession with plastic surgery. Forgive me if I don’t shed a tear for his plight.
Anyway, it was day one of his trial today in a case which could result in the death penalty. Please note that I used the word “could” because I sincerely doubt that will be the case, having a rough idea about how things seem to work here in Japan. On the opening day of trial Ichihashi has admitted raping his victim, and also strangling her so that she could not call out for help. The more interesting outcome of this first day is that he has admitted that he caused her death by strangulation. “I’m responsible for her death and for that, I am very sorry.”
Now I’m guessing that has been said for a number of reasons. First off, he is saying that the death wasn’t premeditated and so most likely wouldn’t result in the death penalty, even in the worst instance. The second part holds a lot of weight though here in Japan. If you are seen to be showing remorse, then it is very likely that the prosecutors will take pity on you somewhat and lessen your sentence. Am thinking they might take into account his time in custody prior to trial and the “hardship” he was under during his evasion from police capture (don’t laugh; I’m deadly serious). Am going to go on the record and predict a manslaughter verdict with 2-3 years imprisonment, and a 4-5 year suspended sentence. The fact that she died will be described as “regrettable” and everything swept under the carpet pretty much so that we can all pretend it never happened. I hope I will be pleasantly surprised, but I’m the eternal skeptic. A verdict is predicted on July 21st.
The trial continues.
Over 2 years after the body of English teacher Lindsay Ann Hawker was found in a bathtub of sand in Chiba, the main suspect was arrested this evening. Tatsuyo Ichihashi was captured by police early this evening at the Nanko ferry terminal waiting to board a ferry to Okinawa. After recent leads in the Osaka area and a new photo being published of him following cosmetic surgery he had done, a passenger in the ferry terminal reported a person bearing Ichihashi’s description to authorities at the ferry terminal. Police then approached and arrested him.
Currently, the charge is only the complete joke of “abandoning a body”, although Chiba police are hopeful of upgrading that charge to murder. I’m usually very critical of the Japanese police but it seems like after 2 and a half years they have finally got their man. Since initial posters were released, he has undergone a number of plastic surgery operations on his eyes, nose and mouth (no doubt funded by his wealthy family) and was attempting to undergo another round of surgery at a Fukuoka clinic in the near future. It has also emerged that he has been working undetected in Osaka for over a year while managing to remain under the radar.
But he is finally in custody and now the job moves from the police to the criminal courts to ensure that justice is done. I’m trying to be hopeful but just get the feeling he may only be found guilty in the eyes of the law in Japan of abandoning a body. I certainly hope not and hope that the Hawker family can finally get some closure on this.
How time flies sometimes. It has now been two years since the naked body of Lindsay Ann Hawker (see left) was found in a bathtub on the balcony of Tatsuyo Ichihashi, with the suspect managing to run barefoot past nine police officers who went to his apartment, and then evading them on foot. This story made headlines back in the UK straight away but it was only after foreign media became heavily involved that this story started to get mentioned by the Japanese media. Interestingly, the Japanese Wikipedia article on Hawker still does not include Ichihashi’s by name, referring to only “the suspect”.
I predicted then that there was very little chance of the Japanese police catching this guy, and so it has proved until now. In the past ten days the police chief in the case has been replaced for reasons not made public. Conincidence or not, this change in staff came just days after he gave an interview with the BBC’s Inside Out programme. One wonders if people above him deemed his defence of the police officers at the time was seen as inadequate in some way. He was quoted as saying, “”At the stage that the investigators went to Tatsuya Ichihashi’s apartment it was still not clear that he was involved in this incident and it was not clear that she (Lindsay) was already murdered.” That does make you wonder then why nine armed officers were dispatched to his apartment, if they were just making an enquiry into a missing person’s report.
Hawker’s family are back in Japan once again as we approach the March 27th anniversary of her death, and are asking the police to increase their efforts to find Ichihashi. The police’s attempts to show they are working on this case are, at best, laughable. Previously they have made posters showing what Ichihashi might look like if he dressed up as a woman. The most recent thing is now a carboard cutout of Ichihashi (see right) to be placed in train stations around Tokyo which, if a button is pressed, will produce a grainy rendition of his voice. The police have offered a reward for Ichihashi’s capture, but Y1m ($10,000) does seem a pretty paltry amount.
The reaction of people has been something to behold too. Police have stated that they have visited many restaurants and adult entertainment facilities (no sniggering at the back) and enquired about him. At one such bar, the owner told police, “I heard rumors that he is staying at (a gay bar in) Shinjuku Ward.” That is some information, but if the police hadn’t gone there then for all intents and purposes this guy would have not come forward. He would have just kept the rumours of sightings and whereabouts to himself.
And now, just as the Hawker family return to Tokyo to search for Ichihashi, a journalist has revealed to the Telegraph newspaper that Ichihashi’s father may have killed himself. The story states that getting information on whether this is true or not is difficult, although the media seem to have no problem reporting names when it is any other person who has killed themself. What gets you thinking in this story is that the suspected suicide was back in September, yet has been kept quiet until Hawker’s family are back in Japan. A sceptic might consider that the story was kept quiet until a time when it may be useful to provide some sympathy for the family of the suspect, who have been forced to undergo extreme hardship after their son has been made a suspect in a murder enquiry. Saying that though, I think his arrest warrant is still only for abandoning a body, as obviously he might not have killed the girl on his balcony in his bathtub filled with sand.
I’d like to report an update and possibly an arrest very soon, but I think it will probably be another year before this story takes up any more column inches in Japan.