The man accused of raping and killing British teacher Lindsay Ann Hawker in 2007 has sent a letter of apology to her parents, in which he says that what he did was evil, the Times newspaper reported on Tuesday.
"There is no one to blame but me. I will take the responsibility. I will never forget about her and what I did to her and you. And I will carry my cross until the moment of my death," wrote Tatsuya Ichihashi, 31, according to the Times, printing excerpts from the letter.
Ichihashi had so far denied killing the 22-year-old English teacher, whose strangled body was found buried in a sand-filled bathtub on the balcony of his apartment in Ichikawa, Chiba Prefecture. In the four-page letter - written in Japanese and English - Ichihashi writes "I will never forget about her and what I did to her and you. And I will carry my cross until the moment of my death," the Times reported.
Ichihashi repeatedly apologized in the letter, writing: "I am sorry. I am very sorry. I am very sorry. I am very sorry. I not only destroyed her life but I also changed your lives. What I did to her and you will never be forgiven."
According to Ichihashi's lawyers, he told them that he didn't plan to kill Hawker, but that he had crushed her windpipe while trying to prevent her from crying out. In his letter to the Hawkers, Ichihashi does not go into any details about the killing but states he did not know what was real at the time. However, he claims he became afraid afterwards and decided to escape. He writes: "I did not understand whether it was real or not at the time. I imagined she would come back to life."
But the letter, written in May, was rejected by Hawker's family, who believe the man's apology and confession were a ploy to gain leniency from the jury when his trial starts next year, the report said. In a statement, her family said, ''Tatsuya Ichihashi ran away from police and had plastic surgery to try and change his features and intended to be on the run for the rest of his life. We just want justice for Lindsay and are fully confident in Japan's justice system. There isn't any point in Ichihashi or any of his defense team getting in touch with us.''
Ichihashi was arrested last November in Osaka after being on the run for about two years and seven months. He had eluded a police hunt in part by undergoing plastic surgeries.
In his letter, he describes how he spent his years on the run working at construction sites under a false name and saving money to visit cosmetic surgery clinics. "Before then, I never had the experience of working," he wrote.© Compiled from news reports