Tokyo prosecutors seek four-year term

Sat, Feb 9, 2013, 00:00

Prosecutors in Tokyo have demanded a four-year prison term for one of two American men accused of luring Irish woman Nicola Furlong (21) to her death in a central Tokyo hotel last year.

James Blackston (23) has denied sexually assaulting the exchange student’s unidentified Irish friend at the Keio Plaza Hotel on May 24th while Ms Furlong was being strangled in a nearby room.

Richard Hinds (19) has admitted the killing but denied intent. He is in custody in Tokyo and his trial begins next month. Mr Blackston, a professional dancer, also denies committing a separate sexual assault on another woman about a month earlier. He has argued during the trial at the Tokyo district court that he was pursued by both women.

In their summation yesterday, prosecutors said multiple testimony and evidence from surveillance cameras proved the Irish woman was forcibly brought to Mr Blackston’s room. “There is absolutely no reason to believe the defendant’s claim that the victim was interested in him,” they said.

The verdict in the case is due on March 13th.