Japanese man appeals life term for killing Briton

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The Japanese man convicted of raping and killing British teacher Lindsay Ann Hawker has filed an appeal against his lifetime sentence, a court official said on Tuesday.

Tatsuya Ichihashi, 32, spent more than two-and-a-half years on the run after the 2007 crime and had plastic surgery to evade capture before his 2009 arrest.

The body of his 22-year-old victim, from a village near Coventry in central England, was found naked and bound in a sand-filled bathtub on the balcony of Ichihashi's apartment east of Tokyo.

During his trial Ichihashi admitted raping the English teacher but said he killed her accidentally while covering her mouth to stop her screaming.

However, the Chiba District Court found he had strangled Hawker for at least three minutes, showing a "clear premeditation to kill" to cover up the rape.

A Chiba court official told AFP that "today, the defence side for Ichihashi filed an appeal," saying the case would be sent to the Tokyo High Court.

© 2011 AFP

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