In the Media

'He's only sorry he got caught': Mother of murdered Briton Lindsay Hawker slams killer's appeal

PUBLISHED March 15, 2012

Tatsuya Ichihashi, 33, opened an appeal at Tokyo High Court on Thursday, seeking a reduction in his life sentence because he did not mean to murder Lindsay Hawker, 22, whose body was found in a sand-filled bathtub at his home in the Japanese capital.

Julia Hawker, her mother, said the family did not believe he felt remorse. "We do not think he is sorry for what he has done; we think he is only sorry that he got caught," she told The Daily Telegraph.

"We would feel a lot better if he just went and served his sentence," she added. "He needs to appreciate what he has done and pay for it."

Ten days short of the five-year anniversary of 22-year-old Ms Hawker's disappearance, Ichihashi admitted to the court that he laid on top of his victims, but claimed he "did not know my arm had compressed her neck."

He also repeated an apology to the family, saying, "I will keep apologising to them until I die and suffer pain. I am truly sorry."

The high court will announce its ruling on April 11. If the appeal is not successful, Ichihashi will have the right to appeal that decision to Japan's Supreme Court.

The Hawkers had offered to return to Tokyo for the hearing, but prosecutors sid their presence was not required.

Instead, Miss Hawker's parents and sisters submitted statements to the court expressing their feelings.

The letters were read to the court by Yoshinobu Iida, the presiding judge, and repeated their belief that Ichihashi feels no regret for his actions as he was still trying to evade the police when he was captured, while his offer to donate the royalties from a book he wrote while awaiting trial have caused them pain and disgust.

Miss Hawker was badly beaten and strangled in the suspect's apartment in the Gyotoku district, east of Tokyo, in March 2007. Her naked body was found buried in sand in a bathtub on the balcony of the apartment.

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 in the city of Osaka as he was about to board a ferry for the southern islands of Okinawa.

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 his trial, Ichihashi claimed he accidentally crushed Miss Hawker's windpipe when he tried to stop her calling out.

"We are not interested in him any more," said Mrs Hawker. "He has already caused us enough pain and grief and so much anguish.

"He has had a fair trial, he has admitted what he has done and we can only wonder why he appealing the sentence."