Lindsay Hawker's killer Tatsuya Ichihashi jailed
July 21, 2011
Japanese man has been sentenced to life in jail for the rape and
murder of a British teacher found dead in a sand-filled bathtub in
Tatsuya Ichihashi, 32, admitted killing Lindsay
Hawker, 22, from Brandon, near Coventry, at his home close to Tokyo,
but had denied her murder.
He also admitted raping the English teacher, but
said he tried to revive her after accidentally suffocating her.
Miss Hawker's parents said they felt they had got
Her father, Bill, told journalists: "We've waited
four-and-a-half years to get justice for Lindsay. We have achieved
"Lindsay loved Japan, and you have not let her
down," he added, referring to Japanese authorities.
Mr Hawker, his wife Julia, and the victim's
sisters, Lisa and Louise, flew into Tokyo on Wednesday, to see the
judge at Chiba District Court pass sentence on Ichihashi.
Under Japanese law he could have been given the
death penalty and previously Mr Hawker asked the sentencing judge to
apply the maximum punishment available.
Judge Masaya Hotta said Ichihashi should not
receive the death penalty because he had no previous criminal record
and as he was aged 32, there was still a slight chance he could be
Miss Hawker was last seen alive after giving her
killer an English lesson in a coffee shop, on 25 March 2007.
Ichihashi, who went on the run, published a book in
which he confessed to the killing and described how he had cosmetic
surgery to change his appearance - including cutting his own lip and
removing moles from his face.
His attempts to change his appearance eventually
led to his arrest after staff at a clinic where he had surgery on his
nose became suspicious and reported him to police.
Miss Hawker had travelled to Japan in October 2006,
to teach English with the Nova language school.
The Leeds University graduate was found dead at
Ichihashi's apartment in Ichikawa City, east of Tokyo, less than six
Ichihashi disappeared after Japanese police
discovered the teacher's battered-and-bound body, buried naked in the
bathtub on the balcony of his flat.
He was arrested at a ferry terminal in the city of
Osaka, in western Japan in November 2009.
On 4 July, he told his trial he enticed Miss Hawker
into his apartment, raped her and then strangled her because he feared
neighbours would hear her screams and call the police.
He claimed he could not remember strangling her.
Sean Moore, who has lived in Brandon for 18 years,
told the BBC he knows the Hawker family "by sight".
"It was just a terrible shock when it happened and
I think we've all been right behind the family to see that justice
is... done for them," he said.
George Fisher, former head of Miss Hawker's old
school, King Henry VIII in Coventry, said he was very pleased for the
family that "at last they've got some sort of justice."
"Whether it will help them to get closure on
Lindsay's death, well I can only hope so," Mr Fisher said.
Japanese murderer jailed for Lindsay Hawker
By Roland Buerk - BBC.co.uk
July 21. 2011
was a day Tatsuya Ichihashi had gone to extraordinary lengths to
For more than two and a half years he was on the
run, and in that time he cut his own face with scissors and a knife
and went through several rounds of plastic surgery to try to change
his appearance and avoid arrest.
But justice has caught up with Japan's most wanted
Through every minute of his trial, British couple
Bill and Julia Hawker sat just a few yards from the man accused of
raping and murdering their daughter, Lindsay.
Every word of the case, including the detail of
Miss Hawker's last hours and death, was relayed to them by an
In court, after the judge delivered the guilty
verdict and sentenced Ichihashi to life in prison, the Hawkers looked
at each other and nodded.
It was a thirst for adventure that brought their
daughter to Japan.
Aged 22 and one of three sisters, she had grown up
in Brandon near Coventry before graduating from Leeds University.
She got a job teaching English in Chiba, on the
edge of Tokyo.
It was in March 2007, in front of a railway
station, that she first encountered 28-year-old Ichihashi, the son of
wealthy doctors, who had studied horticulture at Chiba University.
He struck up a conversation, and ran after Miss
Hawker as she cycled away to the flat she shared with two other
At some point Ichihashi persuaded her to give him
an English lesson and they met a few days later in a coffee shop.
When the session finished he said he had no money,
and asked her to go back to his flat to get some.
In court, Ichihashi testified that he raped her as
soon as they stepped through the door.
With Miss Hawker missing the alarm was raised and
it did not take long for the police to call at Ichihashi's flat. He
was there when they arrived but managed to run away barefoot.
When officers went inside they found Miss Hawker's
body - battered, bruised, bound and buried in a bathtub full of soil
and sand on a balcony.
By then Ichihashi had disappeared, and over the
following years the case seemed to go cold.
His face was familiar to people across the country,
from posters in railway stations and other public places. But
Ichihashi evaded capture for so long by changing it.
In a book he later published, called Until the
Arrest, he described cutting his lip to make it thinner, and removing
distinctive moles from his face with a knife.
He travelled widely, from Aomori in northern Japan
to Oha, a tiny subtropical island in the south, where he lived in a
concrete bunker from World War II and ate wild fruit and fish, even
He used earnings from working on a building site in
Osaka to pay for plastic surgery, but a visit to a clinic for an
operation was to prove his undoing when staff became suspicious about
their patient and handed the police a photograph of his new
In November 2009 it was released to the Japanese
media and widely publicised.
Less than a week later he was recognised by a
member of the public in Osaka as he waited to get on a ferry to
Okinawa. He was arrested.
In court Ichihashi sat before the judges with his
head bowed and unmoving. He was thin, his hair long and ragged.
At the start of each day's proceedings, and each
time he was brought in after a break, he performed a deep bow to the
Hawker family, a gesture of apology.
But Mr and Mrs Hawker hid their faces so as not to
During his testimony, interrupted by sobs,
Ichihashi admitted raping their daughter.
Shaking, he said he was responsible for her death -
he strangled her to stop her crying out - but did not intend to kill
her, a defence which was rejected by the judges and jurors.
The parents had called for their daughter's killer
to be given the maximum punishment for his crimes.
Although Japan has death by hanging for murder, it
is usually reserved for serial killers so the prosecution instead
sought a life sentence.
Since their daughter's death Mr and Mrs Hawker have
travelled to Japan many times, appearing on television and handing out
leaflets in train stations.
They told the court they spent their savings and
pension funds to make sure their daughter's killer was caught.
All they wanted, they said, was justice for
Timeline: Lindsay Hawker's murder
July 21, 2011
British teacher Lindsay Hawker
was killed in Tokyo, Japan, in March 2007.
Her body was found buried in a bath of sand on the
balcony of an apartment belonging to Tatsuya Ichihashi.
Ichihashi admitted raping and strangling Miss
Hawker, who had travelled to Japan from her home near Coventry, but
said he did not intend to kill her.
Here is a timeline of events surrounding the
Lindsay Hawker leaves her home in Brandon, near
Coventry, and heads for Tokyo to teach English with the Nova language
school in Koiwa.
The 22-year-old gives an English lesson to Tatsuya
Ichihashi, aged 28 at the time, at a coffee shop in Tokyo. At 1000
local time on 25 March, Miss Hawker returns to Ichihashi's apartment
and informs the taxi driver to wait for her while she briefly goes
inside. The driver leaves after seven minutes.
Miss Hawker is reported missing the next day. Her
employer calls her father, Bill Hawker, and police are sent to
Ichihashi's apartment where they find the suspect escaping on foot.
They discover the Leeds University graduate's body
in a bath full of sand on the balcony of the fourth-floor apartment in
Ichikawa, east of the capital.
Mr Hawker and his daughter's boyfriend, Ryan
Garside, travel to Tokyo to formally identify her body. Mr Hawker
declares he "will not rest" until her killer is caught.
CCTV footage showing Miss Hawker and Ichihashi just
hours before her death is broadcast on Japanese television.
Hundreds of mourners, including Japanese Ambassador
Yoshiji Nogami, gather to pay their last respects at a funeral service
for Miss Hawker at Coventry Cathedral.
Margaret Beckett, then Foreign Secretary, travels
to Japan and appeals to the Japanese media to devote more coverage to
Ichihashi's father tells Miss Hawker's family via
police that he hopes his son will "atone for his crime". Mr Hawker
calls the message a "hollow gesture".
Warwickshire Police fly to Tokyo to help the family
liaise with the Japanese police team.
Miss Hawker's parents, Bill and Julia, make a
renewed appeal on Japanese TV for help in finding their daughter's
The family launch an e-mail campaign, circulating a
letter titled Don't Forget Lindsay Hawker. They appeal for the
readers' help and ask them to forward it to as many people as
Mr Hawker hands out leaflets featuring Ichihashi's
face at London Heathrow Airport to mark the six-month anniversary of
To mark the one-year anniversary of her death, Miss
Hawker's family fly to Japan to appeal for new leads.
Miss Hawker's family return to Tokyo on the second
anniversary of her death. They unveil life-size talking cut-outs of Mr
Ichihashi to raise the profile of the investigation.
It emerges that Ichihashi may have undergone
plastic surgery to change his appearance. Police release pictures of
how he might look now. The suspect, now 30, is thought to have had
cheek implants and lip-thinning. Miss Hawker's family appeal to police
to tell them what has happened.
On 10 November Ichihashi is arrested by Japanese
police at a ferry terminal in Osaka, the Foreign Office confirms. He
is held in police custody in Osaka.
Ichihashi is charged with abandoning Miss Hawker's
Later that month he is charged with rape and
Ichihashi apologises to Miss Hawker's family in a
letter published in some newspapers.
He publishes a book confessing to the killing and
describing how he spent two-and-a-half years on the run and how he
underwent plastic surgery.
Miss Hawker's parents arrive in Japan, ahead of
Ichihashi's trial at a court in Chiba.
At his trial, Ichihashi admits raping and
straggling Miss Hawker but says he did not intend to kill her.
Giving evidence, Bill Hawker asks for the heaviest
sentence available for Ichihashi under Japanese law.
Ichihashi is sentenced to life in prison.
Japan bathtub burial accused admits Lindsay
July 4, 2011
Japanese man has admitted raping and killing a British teacher whose
body was found in a sand-filled bathtub.
Tatsuya Ichihashi, 32, is accused of murdering
Lindsay Ann Hawker, 22, from Brandon near Coventry.
Her body was found at the defendant's home east of
Tokyo in March 2007.
At the opening of his trial, Ichihashi admitted
raping Miss Hawker and causing her death but said he did not intend to
The defence said Ichihashi had tried to revive his
English teacher after accidentally suffocating her in an attempt to
stop her from crying out for help.
Ichihashi told the court: "I did not intend to kill
her, but I am responsible for her death."
"I am very sorry for what I did."
The crime potentially carries the death penalty but
prosecutors have yet to enter a sentencing demand.
Miss Hawker taught Ichihashi English at a private
language school in the city of Chiba.
She agreed to give him a private lesson and after
the lesson Ichihashi persuaded Miss Hawker to go back to his
He went on the run after police found her body, at
one point fleeing past officers as they questioned his neighbours.
Ichihashi evaded police for more than two years
despite a nationwide manhunt, in which a reward of 10 million yen was
offered for tips leading to his arrest.
In a book published after his eventual arrest in
2009, Ichihashi described his life on the run including how he
performed plastic surgery on himself, giving himself a nose job in an
attempt to obscure his identity.
His attempts to change his appearance eventually
led to his arrest after the staff at a clinic where he had surgery on
his nose became suspicious and reported him to police.
He was arrested at a ferry terminal in the city of
Osaka in November 2009.
Miss Hawker's parents, Bill and Julia, are
attending the trial at Chiba District Court and under the country's
legal system they are entitled to question the defendant but at the
discretion of the court.
In a statement read by Mr Hawker when the family
left England for the trial, he said: "We're hoping to get justice for
"That has always been our only aim."
Lindsay Ann Hawker (30 December 1984 – 24
March 2007) was a 22-year-old British teacher who was killed in Japan
in early 2007. The man seen fleeing the apartment where she was
killed, Tatsuya Ichihashi, was wanted by police for abandonment of a
On 10 November 2009, it was reported by Japanese
news media as well as BBC News that Ichihashi had been apprehended by
Japanese police. On 5 July 2011, Ichihashi confessed to killing her,
stating that he smothered her to prevent her from screaming while
raping her. On 21 July 2011, Ichihashi was sentenced to life
imprisonment for the murder.
Lindsay Hawker was born to Bill and Julia Hawker in
Coventry, West Midlands as the middle child of three daughters; her
sisters are Lisa and Louise. She moved to Japan in October 2006 to
teach English at the Koiwa branch of Nova in Tokyo, which was Japan's
largest private English conversation school. Her family are from
Brandon, a Warwickshire village outside Coventry.
She was schooled at King Henry VIII School,
Coventry, and was an alumna of the University of Leeds, where she
studied biology and had achieved a first-class honours degree,
graduating in 2006. She was popular and outgoing; although she had a
view to studying for a Master's, she opted to teach English for a year
in Japan. She shared her accommodation with two other female teachers,
one from Australia, the other from Canada.
On the day she disappeared, her family became
distressed due to her lack of contact—she had used a variety of media,
including e-mail, Skype, and telephone to regularly stay in contact
with her family during her time there.
Ichihashi Tatsuya), aged 28 at the death of Hawker,
lived in the city of Ichikawa, in Chiba Prefecture, just east of
Tokyo. Born in Gifu Prefecture on 5 January 1979 Ichihashi grew up in
Chiba and Gifu, as his father relocated his family due to a job
assignment as a medical doctor, along with his dentist wife.
After graduating from Department of Horticulture,
Chiba University in 2005, Ichihashi did not work, but lived on an
allowance of roughly over ¥100,000 (over £600 at that time) a month
from his parents. Little has been made public about him due to the
comparatively restrictive nature of Japanese privacy laws, and the
reticence of his parents to speak about him.
Ichihashi had no previous convictions, but he had
been the subject of an allegation of "theft and injury" six years
before Hawker's death. Ichihashi had allegedly assaulted a woman on
the street during a robbery, but the matter had been settled out of
court. Ichihashi had been in a stable, year-long relationship with a
Japanese woman at the time of Hawker's killing.
Police described him as a loner with an obsession
for physical fitness: He regularly attended a gym and cycled 25
kilometres a day. He also had an interest in violent manga comics,
which some reporters linked to the case.
Hawker recited the story of how she met Ichihashi
to her boyfriend, who lived in England, by email. Four days before the
killing happened, she was approached by him on her train journey home
from work. Ichihashi at first claimed she was his English teacher (she
was not); and then asked her to confirm if she was an English teacher.
Ichihashi ran after her as she cycled home and asked for a glass of
water when she arrived. Hawker had felt sorry for him and decided, as
a precaution, to let him in to show him her two flatmates. Once
inside, Ichihashi took out a pen and paper and drew a picture of her,
signing it with his name, telephone number, and e-mail address. At
some point, the pair agreed to meet for an English lesson four days
later, at a cafe, which was something the Nova school allowed.
Hawker and Ichihashi met on Saturday 24 March 2007
in the cafe. When the session had been concluded, they caught a taxi
to Ichihashi's apartment, which was a few hundred yards down the road.
Hawker told the taxi driver to wait for a short time and went up to
Ichihashi's apartment. Seven minutes later, the taxi driver left after
she failed to arrive.
Hawker's naked body was found buried in a
sand/soil-filled bathtub on the apartment's balcony. She had been
bound and gagged with plastic ties and scarves, with one of her hands
lying outside the mixture. Both Hawker and Ichihashi were familiar
with martial arts (Ichihashi was much more experienced, having
attained a black belt), and it appeared, from the bruises that were
present across Hawker's upper body, that she had been the subject of a
prolonged attack—her possessions were found strewn across the room as
Police said that the egg-sized bruises on the left
side of her face appeared to have been inflicted with a fist, while
lesser marks on her upper body were the result of collision with
furniture. Hawker had died when her assailant began strangling her and
broke the cartilage of her neck. Her head was shaved after she was
It had been widely reported in the days after her
death that Ichihashi had buried her only in sand. Ichihashi had buried
the body in sand and compost soil, and then sprayed it with a
substance used to compact and decompose waste. It is believed that
this had been done with a plan in mind to either bury the body in
concrete or to wait until it had decomposed. Ichihashi had bought the
materials over six visits to his local hardware store; these visits
had been made in the hours leading up the arrival of the police force,
on 26 March.
After failing to attend her lessons that were
scheduled for 25 and 26 March, Nova reported Hawker missing at 2.30 pm
on the 26th. Hawker's friends had tried to contact the police
previously, but the message was not passed along adequately amongst
the authorities. Two officers were dispatched, and reached Ichihashi's
apartment at 5.40 pm. After being made aware of the previous
allegation made against Ichihashi, and noticing that there was no
light on inside the apartment, but that there appeared to be somebody
in there, these officers called for back-up at 7.00 pm (they were not
permitted to knock without proper cause). Within the next hour, seven
more officers arrived.
Two hours after the nine officers had assembled
outside, Ichihashi walked out of his front door, with a rucksack on
and in bare feet (this would be unusual since, though shoes are
traditionally left in the Japanese foyer and not worn inside, they are
almost always worn out of doors.) Ichihashi was made aware of the
situation and attempted to run away from the officers. One was able to
grab his rucksack, but he continued to flee. Ichihashi's escape was
aided in part by the fact that none of the officers had
walkie-talkies, and so the officers on the fourth floor could not
alert those on the ground. Ichihashi lost the officers after vaulting
the last few feet of the stairway to the ground, but was later
rediscovered, having found a pair of athletic shoes, before escaping
again by zigzagging through the street. The contents of his rucksack
did not suggest that he was trying to escape: All it contained was his
gym clothes, and police believed that he was going there to wash them.
Police suspect that between Sunday night and early
Monday, Ichihashi moved the bathtub from the bathroom to the balcony
and put Hawker's body into it. Neighbors said they heard sounds of
something striking metal and something being dragged during that time.
Police obtained an arrest warrant Tuesday for Ichihashi on suspicion
of abandoning her body, and put him on the nationwide wanted list.
On 29 March, detectives removed a shopping trolley
from Ichihashi’s apartment building, in which he is believed to have
transported the bags of horticultural soil where Hawker was buried. On
29 March, a team of twenty Japanese police officers raided Hotel
Chateau, a love hotel near Nishi-Funabashi Station, east of Tokyo,
where rooms are rented to couples by the hour, but did not find
On 13 March 2008, Japanese police released a new
wanted poster of Ichihashi, which included an enhanced image of the
suspect disguised as a woman. They also released images of a drawing
he had made of Hawker in the hopes that someone would recognize the
In the early months of 2008, the police
investigated sightings of Ichihashi among the gay sections of
Kabukicho in Tokyo, where he had tentatively been identified by his
male sexual partners. However, in the latter part of this year, the
investigation appeared to have gone cold. In October 2008, by which
time 140 officers had become involved in what was a relatively large
investigation, it was suggested by police that Ichihashi may have
committed suicide. Hawker's father called this a "ploy" to scale down
the operation, and some inside sources signalled that the
investigation was coming to a close. However, this was not directly
communicated to either the Hawker family or the British Foreign
Reports continued to abound speculating Ichihashi's
location, and on 15 January 2009, in an article in Japan Today,
it was reported that Ichihashi, who had turned 30 on 5 January 2009,
had fled and gone underground in the Philippines, according to a
reporter from Spa!, the weekly magazine. For years, Japanese
criminals wanted by Japanese authorities have fled to the Philippines
to escape arrest, making the Philippines something of a haven for
Japanese criminals. On the second anniversary of her death (see
below), life-size cut-outs of Ichihashi were released by the police to
raise the profile of the case. At this point, the Hawkers were for the
first time critical of the progress the investigation was making.
On 26 June 2009, the Japanese National Police
Agency raised the cash reward for information leading to the arrest of
Tatsuya Ichihashi, from ¥1 million to ¥10 million. Police usually
offer cash rewards of ¥1 million to ¥3 million for information leading
to arrest in serious cases. The manner in which this reward would be
distributed was questioned when Ichihashi was arrested later that
year, as a number of informants had contributed to his capture. These
included a cosmetic surgery clinic in Nagoya, an employee at an Osaka
construction company where Ichihashi had been employed for 14 months,
and an Osaka ferry company employee who reported the sighting of
someone who bore resemblance to Ichihashi.
On 4 November 2009, police disclosed that Ichihashi
had undergone plastic surgery on 24 October at the clinic in Nagoya,
where he had his nose uplifted after he had failed to receive surgery
in Fukuoka in mid-October. He had apparently received cosmetic surgery
on several occasions to remove two moles on his cheek, add a fold to
his eyelids, thin both his lips, and to increase the height of his
nose before he visited the Nagoya clinic. Police released a photograph
taken immediately before his latest surgery to the press.
On 10 November 2009, Ichihashi was captured in
Osaka while attempting to board a ferry to Okinawa. Ichihashi did not
confess upon being arrested, and when his 23-day detention period
without charge expired on December 2, he was initially charged with
abandoning a body, and served two more warrants for rape and murder.
It has been alleged by Ichihashi's lawyers that during this period he
was threatened with the death penalty if he did not speak, and his
reticence was attributed to fatigue and stress.
On 23 December, one of his lawyers announced that
he had acknowledged that he was involved in her death, but that he had
not intended to kill her, and had attempted artificial resuscitation.
Stephen Green, writing for the Japan Times,
commented that the case, which had been extensively covered by the
media, was likely to test the fairness of the judicial system in
Japan, which operates a lay judge system and has the option of the
death penalty in certain cases. However, it is extremely rare in Japan
to be sentenced to death for killing only one victim. As of 2010,
fewer than 10 of the 111 inmates on Japan's death row have killed only
one person, including previous convictions.
In court, Ichihashi admitted to suffocating Hawker,
to prevent her from screaming for help while he raped her.
On 21 July 2011 Tatsuya Ichihashi was sentenced to
life imprisonment for the murder of Lindsay Hawker by the Chiba
District Court. The Hawker family had asked for the death penalty for
Ichihashi, but the court felt that the death penalty was not
appropriate as Ichihashi had no previous convictions and at the age of
32 there was still a chance that he could be rehabilitated.
Hawker's parents have striven to keep Hawker's case
on the media agenda, appealing for information shortly after the
murder. and visiting Japan three months later in order to renew
attention. Her family visited again a year after her death, imploring
the media to keep the case alive and for Ichihashi to hand himself in.
Although Bill Hawker expressed dismay at the lack of knowledge
surrounding whereabouts, he stressed that "we have not come here to
criticize the Japanese police." They returned again on the second
anniversary, and Hawker's father revisited the country later that
year, a month after Ichihashi's arrest, to express his gratitude.
Hawker's case has been repeatedly compared to the
2000 murder of Lucie Blackman, another female British citizen, whose
dismembered body was found buried in a shallow grave at a beach in
Miura, Kanagawa in January 2001. Mizuho Fukushima, quoted in The
Asia Pacific Journal and Jenny Holt in the Guardian newspaper has
criticised the sensationalist coverage of the case in the British
press, characterising it as a combination of missing white woman
syndrome and yellow peril racial scaremongering.
In September 2008 a three-part radio play loosely
based on the Hawker case, "A Tokyo Murder," by John Dryden and Miriam
Smith, was broadcast by BBC Radio 4.
Ichihashi has written a book named Until I Was
Arrested which tells his side of the story. Ichihashi had offered
Hawker's family all royalties his book might earn, an offer the family