Tatsuya Ichihashi was sentenced to life imprisonment for the rape and murder of Lindsay Ann Hawker by Presiding Judge Masaya Hotta at the Chiba District Court yesterday.
Hawker's parents had asked for the maximum sentence of the death penalty.
On 24 March 2007, 32-year-old Tatsuya Ichihashi lured Ms. Hawker, a 22-year-old English language teacher from Coventry, UK, back to his apartment in Chiba near Tokyo after a pre-arranged English-language lesson in a nearby coffee shop. Ichihashi told Hawker he needed to go back to his apartment to get money to pay for the class.
Later Ms. Hawker's body was discovered by police in a sand and compost-filled bathtub on Ichihashi's balcony.
Ichihashi later escaped in his socks from the group of nine Japanese policemen sent to question him over Lindsay's disappearance.
Ichihashi, who was on the run fom the police for 2 years and 7 months, had plastic surgery in Nagoya and other Japanese cities, cosmetic surgery which included lip-thinning and cheek implants.
Ichihashi was finally picked up at Osaka port while awaiting a boat to Okinawa. After his arrest, Ichihashi published a controversial book detailing his life on the run and offered the proceeds of this book to Hawker's parents, who refused.
Presiding judge Hotta Masaya delivered the verdict on July 21 after discussions among the six lay judges, who are members of the public, and three professional judges.
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Friday, July 22, 2011