Japanese man apologises for killing British teacher: report

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A Japanese man charged with raping and killing a British woman in 2007 has apologised to the victim's family in a letter lamenting his "evil" act, a British newspaper said Tuesday.

"I was evil," wrote Tatsuya Ichihashi, 31, The Times newspaper reported, citing a copy of the letter.

"There is no one to blame but me. I will take the responsibility. I will never forget about her and what I did to her and you. And I will carry my cross until the moment of my death."

He wrote the letter, both in English and Japanese, to the parents and two younger sisters of Lindsay Ann Hawker, whose body was found in March 2007. Hawker, who was working as an English teacher in Japan, was 22.

Ichihashi repeatedly apologised in the letter, writing: "I am sorry. I am very sorry. I am very sorry. I am very sorry."

"I not only destroyed her life but I also changed your lives. What I did to her and you will never be forgiven."

But the letter was rejected by Hawker's family, who believe the man's apology and confession were a bid to gain leniency from the jury when his trial starts next year, the report said.

"He was trying to escape, and to change what he looked like with plastic surgery, and to remain free for the rest of his life," Hawker's mother, Julia, was quoted as saying.

"We just want some justice for Lindsay.... There isn't any point him or his defence team getting in touch with us."

Ichihashi, also charged with dumping Hawker's body, was arrested in November last year as the only suspect in the murder. He had spent two years on the run and had altered his appearance with plastic surgery.

Hawker's naked body was found on March 26, 2007 in a sand-filled bathtub on the balcony of Ichihashi's apartment just outside Tokyo.

© 2010 AFP

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