Furlong accused contradicts prosecution version of Irish woman’s death
American musician says he could not 'not morally' condone leaving women behind in bar after they fell unconscious
Andrea Furlong (left), younger sister of Nicola Furlong, outside the Tokyo court.
Andrea Furlong holds a photograph of her sister Nicola outside Tokyo District Court with her father Andrew and mother Angela today.
The man accused of killing Nicola Furlong has sharply contradicted the prosecution’s account of her death in harrowing testimony to the Tokyo District Court.
With the Furlong family looking on, Mr Hinds told the court an initially unconscious Ms Furlong woke up beside him in his room and indicated she wanted what he called “rough sex”.
The Irish Times takes no responsibility for the content or availability of other websites.
“She grabbed my right arm with her right hand,” he said. “She was pulling my arm toward her upper body. It left me confused about what she was intending.
“I thought she was referring to rough sex.”
Mr Hinds recalled that he and James Blackston, who is on trial for a separate assault, were approached by Ms Furlong and her Irish friend after a rap concert in Tokyo on May 23rd. “They asked us if we wanted to go party with them,” he told the court.
The Irish woman told the court last week that the first approach was made by the two Americans. She said the women flatly rejected an offer by the men to stay at the Keio Plaza.
However, under defence questioning today, Mr Hinds said the women gave no indication they were declining the offer. “I clearly remember (the other woman) saying: ’Don’t ask us, just let us come.’”
The defendant also dimissmissed the significance of a graphic conversation recorded with Mr Blackston in the back of a taxi in which the two men discuss sexual intent on the by-now unconscious women. “The conversation in the taxi was just meaningless talk,” he said.
Mr Hinds’ lawyers have portrayed him as a devoted Christian who tried to help Ms Furlong after she passed out in a Tokyo bar a few hours after the concert. Today, he said he could not “morally” condone leaving the women behind in the bar after they fell unconscious.
He also insisted he was unaware of an alleged sexual assault committed by Mr. Blackston against Ms Furlong’s friend in the back of the taxi. Mr Hinds said he sat in the front of the car on the way to the Keio Plaza.
He described arriving at the hotel, where the duty manager and another staff member helped him carry Ms Furlong to his room in a wheelchair and lay her on his bed.
Two doctors told the court last week they believe the exchange student was strangled a short time later, though they disagreed about the method. Dr Kenichi Yoshida, for the prosecution, said a “band-like object” - such as a rolled-up towel – probably caused her injuries. Dr Marianne Hamel, for the defence, indicated that Mr Hinds could have used his hands.
Mr Hinds said today there was “no resistance” from Ms Furlong when he again put his hand on her neck and another hand over her mouth when she began getting louder. He insisted he pressed her neck for no longer than 30 seconds, contradicting Dr Yoshida, who said she was strangled for several minutes.
“Did you believe she would end up dead?” asked the defence lawyer.
“No, I did not believe it and I do not believe it today,” Mr Hinds replied.
When asked if Ms Furlong looked as though she was “suffering” or “scared”, Mr Hinds said she did not.
The defendant said he first noticed something was wrong when he investigated a noise at his room door. “I remember hearing her breathe abnormally so I turned around and I noticed that her eyes were facing straight up.”
Ms. Furlong’s parents, Andrew and Angela sat throughout the testimony a few meters away from Mr Hinds’ mother and brother, who watched from the public gallery.
Afterwards, a visibly-distressed Angela Furlong called the testimony “stomach-churning.”
“I felt sick,” she said.
“I think no one should have to hear that about someone they love,” said her daughter Andrea Furlong, who added that the testimony did not contain “one word” of truth.
At one point, the Furlongs asked the defendant, via the prosecution, to stop referring to Ms Furlong as 'Niki' in his testimony. When he continued to do so, Angela Furlong shook her head in apparent disgust.
Mr Hinds’ family declined to speak to reporters.
The trial continues tomorrow with a cross-examination of the witness.