Slain British teacher's family in Japan for trial

3rd July 2011, Comments 0 comments

The family of a British teacher killed in Japan in 2007 arrived in Tokyo Sunday to attend the first court hearing against the man charged with raping and murdering her.

The trial was due to start on Monday at the district court in Chiba, a city southeast of Tokyo, about 20 months after Tatsuya Ichihashi was arrested for the murder of Lindsay Ann Hawker.

"I'm here to get justice for my daughter," her father William Hawker told reporters at Narita airport as he arrived with her mother and two sisters. "It has been a long time coming and we're looking forward to getting justice."

Under Japan's legal system, the family will be able to question Ichihashi at the discretion of the court and give their opinion on sentencing.

Hawker's body was found in March 2007 in a sand-filled bathtub on the balcony of Ichihashi's apartment just outside Tokyo.

Ichihashi was then a student at an English-language school where 22-year-old Walker, a Leeds University graduate, taught.

Ichihashi, now 32, spent two years and seven months on the run by altering his appearance with plastic surgery and frequently changing jobs before his arrest in November 2009 in the western city of Osaka.

He plans to donate royalties from a book, which he published in January about his fugitive days, to the Hawker family or for public good, according to media reports.

© 2011 AFP

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