Japan man loses appeal over rape, death of British hostess

9th December 2010, Comments 0 comments

Japan's top court has rejected an appeal by a man who faces life in jail for raping and dismembering a British bar hostess, paving the way for the sentence to be finalised, court officials said Thursday.

Joji Obara, 58, a wealthy former property developer, was in 2008 sentenced to life in prison for raping 10 women between 1992 and 2000, including 21-year-old Lucie Blackman, who was later found dead.

He did not face murder charges because of insufficient evidence.

Obara launched a Supreme Court appeal, but a court official there said Thursday that the court had rejected it two days earlier.

The sentence will now be finalised unless Obara submits an objection to the court within three days.

Blackman vanished while she was working in bars in Tokyo's Roppongi red-light district while trying to save money for a holiday in Australia.

Her dismembered body was found seven months later in a seaside cave on the city's outskirts.

The high court has ruled that Obara raped her and then dismembered and abandoned her body in 2000.

The case triggered a storm of media coverage in Britain at the time, and a personal appeal from then prime minister Tony Blair.

In London, the victim's father Tim Blackman voiced satisfaction with the latest ruling. "I feel it's the end. It has been rankling in my mind always that we have never come away with a finite decision," he told Kyodo News.

© 2010 AFP

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