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Nicola Furlong murder trial begins in Tokyo

US citizen Richard Hinds is accused of killing the 19-year-old Irish student.

A woman walks by Tokyo District Court during a trial of 19-year-old Richard Hinds of Memphis.
A woman walks by Tokyo District Court during a trial of 19-year-old Richard Hinds of Memphis.
Image: Junji Kurokawa/AP/Press Association Images

THE FAMILY OF Nicola Furlong is in Japan today as the trial of the man accused of her murder begins.

The 21-year-old student was found dead in a Tokyo hotel room last May. She had been strangled.

Richard Hinds, a 19-year-old musician from Memphis in the US, stands accused of her murder. He has denied the murder charge, telling the court today that he had no motive, intent or reason to hurt the Wexford native.

According to RTÉ reporter in Tokyo, Robert Short, the case will run for two weeks.

He also reported that the victim’s mother and father were seated behind prosecutors today, while her sister Andrea sat in the courtroom with a framed photo of Nicola in her arms.

Japanese prosecutors have said that Hinds has shown no remorse and should be punished severely. If convicted, he could face life imprisonment. Although Japan usually considers those under 21 years of age to be minors, a court decided last July to treat Hinds as an adult.

Nicola, an international business student in DCU, was studying at the Takasaki City University of Economics, for the third year of her degree at the time of her death.

On the night of her murder, she and a friend had travelled to central Tokyo to attend a concert by US rapper Nicki Minaj.

The pair missed their train home, and later met two Americans in the busy Shinjuku train station, with whom they travelled back to the Keio Plaza Hotel, where Furlong was found dead the following morning.

Security footage of the girls getting into a taxi was shown in court today.

Read: Tánaiste confirms deaths of 194 Irish citizens abroad this year

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