More details emerged Thursday about the murder of an 18-year-old school girl who was fatally stabbed in Mitaka, Tokyo, on Tuesday night, allegedly by an ex-boyfriend who was stalking her.
Charles Thomas Ikenaga, 21, who is from Kyoto, has been charged with the murder of Saaya Suzuki, whom he met on Facebook two years ago. The couple dated until about a year ago.
Suzuki first asked her school principal for advice on Oct 4 after she received email death threats from Ikenaga. The principal advised her to contact the police. Suzuki and her parents visited police at around 9 a.m. Tuesday to report that Ikenaga had loitered outside their home several times and turned up at places where she used to go, after she started blocking his emails and phone calls on her cell phone in June.
The police officer who spoke with them called Ikenaga’s cell phone three times Tuesday, but his calls were not answered, police said.
NHK reported Thursday that during police questioning, Ikenaga said that he climbed up the outside of Suzuki's house on Tuesday afternoon and hid in a downstairs closet for about two hours. Suzuki returned home at around 4:30 p.m., at which time a police officer called her to see if she had got home safely. She said she was OK and they spoke for about 20 minutes.
Ikenaga told police he emerged from the closet after the phone call and stabbed Suzuki twice in the stomach and arm near the front door, NHK reported. When Suzuki ran outside, Ikenaga chased her and jumped on top of her, stabbing her in the neck. A witness saw him flee the scene.
Suzuki was taken to hospital where she died a short time later due to loss of blood, police said. Ikenaga was arrested nearby 90 minutes later. He admitted buying a knife with the intention of killing Suzuki because she wouldn't get back together with him, police said.
On Thursday, police searched Ikenaga's home in Kyoto and questioned his mother. Ikenaga reportedly called his mother after attacking Suzuki but details of that conversation have not been divulged.
Meanwhile, police have been criticized for their handling of the case. Police said that when Suzuki and her parents visited them on the morning of her murder, it was the first time they had been consulted.
Under the new stalking law, police have to first give an oral warning to stalkers, then a written warning if they do not stop. Police said the officer who made the three calls to Ikenaga's cell phone did so because Ikenaga had no fixed address in Tokyo and there was no way to know where he was at that time.
Police also asked Suzuki to bring copies of emails that Ikenaga had sent her so they could prepare to file a criminal complaint if he did not stop stalking her.
However, the time between Suzuki's visit to the police on Tuesday morning and her death in the afternoon was too short for authorities to do anything, an analyst told NHK. He said the anti-stalking law has to be strengthened so that police can take immediate action against stalkers because warnings often enrage them even more.
National Police Agency Commissioner Tsuyoshi Yoneda told a news conference that a thorough investigation will be carried out see if the police could have done more to protect Suzuki and to take measures to prevent such crimes from happening again.© Japan Today