Hawker suspect publishes memoir


Tatsuya Ichihashi is to stand trial later this year over the alleged murder and rape of Lindsay Hawker in Japan

A Japanese man charged over the 2007 killing of British woman Lindsay Hawker said in a book he wrote in jail that he repeatedly attempted cosmetic surgery – including on himself – to change his appearance during his two and a half years as a fugitive.

Tatsuya Ichihashi, who is to stand trial later this year over the alleged murder and rape of Ms Hawker, admits taking her life in the book but does not elaborate on the crime or his motives.

He also apologises to her and her family, saying the book was intended as “a gesture of contrition for the crime I committed”.

Ms Hawker, 22, was found dead in a sand-filled bath on the balcony of Ichihashi’s apartment in Chiba, east of Tokyo, in March 2007. Ichihashi was one of her students at an English language school.

Police arrested Ichihashi, 32, in Osaka, in western Japan, on November 10 2009. In police questioning, he admitted assaulting Hawker, but denied he intented to kill her. He has been in custody since.

Ichihashi said he hoped to give royalties from the book, titled Until the Arrest, to the Hawker family, and if rejected, use it for a good cause, his lawyers said in a statement.

While at large, Ichihashi said he was in constant fear of arrest and obsessed with cosmetic surgery while travelling through 23 prefectures (states) across Japan, from Aomori in the north to the southern island of Okinawa.

When he started running out of money, he undertook several construction jobs, in Okinawa and the western cities of Osaka, Kobe and Kyoto for a total of more than two years, earning nearly one million yen – enough to cover the cost of plastic surgery twice.

He also attempted facial surgery himself. On one occasion he partly cut his lower lip with scissors to make it thinner. He also sliced off a pair of moles on the left cheek – prominent in a wanted photo of him released by police.

“I was so scared that I ran away,” he wrote in a 238-page book released by publishing house Gentosha, its cover depicting Ichihashi’s drawing of himself – a man wearing a baseball cap and a surgical mask, looking down and carrying a rucksack. “I ended up hurting not only the victim but also (the feelings of) many other people,” he wrote.

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