Japan police arrest suspect in slain Briton case

AP News
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Posted: Nov 10, 2009 2:00 PM

Japanese police said Tuesday that they arrested the main suspect in the slaying of a British teacher whose body was found taped up and half-buried in a sand-filled bathtub, ending a more than two-year manhunt.

Lindsay Ann Hawker, 22, was found dead in March 2007 on the balcony of an apartment in Chiba, east of Tokyo. She was an English teacher at a private language school and the apartment belonged to one of her students, Tatsuya Ichihashi.

The 30-year-old Ichihashi, who had been on the run since police found the body, was arrested on suspicion of abandonment of a body after being spotted at a ferry terminal in the western city of Osaka on Tuesday, a police official said on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to speak to media.

Ichihashi has undergone cosmetic surgery several times while traveling across the country, forcing investigators to verify his identity through fingerprints, the Osaka police official said.

In London, the victim's father, Bill Hawker, told reporters: "The battle is over. We've worked tirelessly as a family, we've never given in. We wanted justice and we finally got justice."

He said his family is so relieved by Ichihashi's arrest and that "I can go down to my daughter's grave to tell her."

In Gifu, the suspect's hometown in central Japan, Ichihashi's father, Masayoshi, said he was "relieved" by his son's arrest. He told his son via an interview with NHK: "You committed a crime. You must be brought to justice. I want you to atone for what you did."

Police recently offered a 10 million yen ($110,000) reward for information leading to Ichihashi's arrest, raising the amount by 10 times from an initial offer.

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Associated Press writer Sylvia Hui contributed to this report from London.