The trial of Tatsuya Ichihashi, 32, the man accused of the murder of British teacher Lindsay Ann Hawker, will begin on July 4, the Chiba district court said Tuesday. The trial is expected to last a little over two weeks with the verdict to be handed down on July 21.
According to his lawyer, Ichihashi has admitted that he caused Hawker's death, but claims he did not intend to murder her. He was quoted as saying that he crushed her windpipe while trying to prevent her from crying out.
On the evening of March 26, 2007, the body of Hawker was found, covered in sand, in a bathtub on the balcony of Ichihashi's apartment in Ichikawa, Chiba Prefecture. Ichihashi eluded police who came to his apartment, inquiring about Hawker. She had been reported missing after giving Ichihashi an English lesson at a nearby coffee shop.
During two years and seven months on the lam, Ichihashi worked as a laborer in Kansai and underwent plastic surgery to alter his appearance. He was apprehended on Nov 10, 2009, at Osaka port while attempting to board a ferry to Okinawa.
Members of Hawker's family are expected to come to Japan for the trial.© Compiled from news reports