The murderer of DCU student Nicola Furlong was sentenced today. Áine O’Donnell reports…
Richard Hinds, a 19 year old from Memphis, Tennessee has been charged with the murder of Nicola Furlong.
A Japanese court sentenced Mr Hinds to a minimum of 5 years and a maximum of 10 years in prison with labour; the maximum sentence for a juvenile under Japanese law.
Mr Hinds was tried as minor as he committed the crime aged 19 and is considered to be a minor by the Japanese judicial system.
Mr Hinds was tried by a panel of 6 lay judges and 3 professional judges without a jury. The presiding judge, Masayuki Ashizawa, denounced the testimony of Mr Hinds, stating it was “not credible”.
He also called the act of murdering Ms Furlong “atrocious and vicious in nature”. Judge Ashizawa also agreed with the prosecution that Ms Furlong had been strangled for several minutes and that this showed intent resulting in their decision to convict Mr Hinds of murder.
Ms Furlong’s family were “disgusted” with the sentence Mr Hinds received for the murder. Angela Furlong, Nicola’s younger sister, expressed her anger at the court’s decision; “I am so angry and I am so hurt, we had so much faith in the Japanese doing justice for us and I don’t feel we got it.” She also stated she wanted to “leave Japan, go home and never return”.
Mr Furlong, Nicola’s father, conveyed his wishes to never hear the name of Richard Hinds again. His wife and Nicola’s mother, Angela Furlong, asserted her feelings on the judgement; “we’re not leaving here believing we have justice. We still don’t know the truth of what happened in that hotel room”.
Nicola Furlong was murdered on May 24 in a Tokyo hotel after attending a Nicki Minaj concert with a friend. Ms Furlong was studying abroad at Takasaki City University of Economics from Dublin City University.
Ms Furlong and her friend went to a bar with Mr Hinds and Mr Blackson and then were transported, seemingly unconscious, to the Keio Hotel in Tokyo where the men were staying. Mr Hinds has been convicted of murdering Ms Furlong by means of strangulation.
Richard Hinds will spend a minimum of 5 years in a Japanese prison while working at a factory for 5,000 yen a month (40 euro). The 120 days he has already spent in prison before and during the trial will be deducted from the sentence.