'No remorse' | 

Dad of murdered Nicola Furlong says ‘I’ll never forgive him’ after killer freed

“For me, he should never again have been released. But it’s Japan, it’s their laws that are being applied and there is nothing I can do to stop this happening.”

Nicola Furlong

Andrew Furlong with Nicola’s sister, Andrea.

Nicola Furlong was murdered while studying in Japan

Killer Richard Hinds

Patrick O'ConnellSunday World

The father of murdered student Nicola Furlong has said he will never forgive her killer – as the 29-year-old killer was scheduled for release from Fuchu Prison in Japan this weekend.

Andrew Furlong also said the fact that Japanese authorities kept Richard Hinds behind bars to the last day of a maximum 10 years ordered by the sentencing judge indicate authorities in Japan do not believe he has been rehabilitated.

Hinds was sentenced to between five and 10 years in jail for strangling 21-year-old Nicola to death after carrying her unconscious into his hotel room.

He could have been released earlier if he had admitted his crime and shown remorse.

Instead, it’s understood he was due to be released shortly after 8pm on Friday Irish time (5am Saturday Japanese time) after serving the maximum time allowed under the sentencing order.

Nicola Furlong was murdered while studying in Japan

Sources said following his release, Hinds was to be taken into the custody of immigration officials for deportation back to his native America.

Nicola’s family were yesterday awaiting confirmation that Hinds had been released, with dad Andrew saying: “It’s going to be another long day.”

Speaking on Friday, Andrew told us: “The fact that he had to stay in prison for the full ten years says a lot … it tells you he wasn’t exactly the best prisoner, doesn’t it?

“If he had shown genuine sorrow for what he did to my daughter, he would have been let out earlier.

“For me, he should never again have been released. But it’s Japan, it’s their laws that are being applied and there is nothing I can do to stop this happening.”

Under Japanese law, the age at which one is considered an adult is 20. Because Hinds was 19 when he murdered Nicola, he received a lighter prison sentence than he otherwise would have.

DCU student Nicola was found strangled in the Keio Plaza Hotel in Tokyo’s Shinjuku district on May 24, 2012.

Another man, James Blackston (23), a dancer, was jailed for an assault he carried out on Nicola’s friend on the night of the murder and for sexually assaulting a Brazilian woman the previous month.

Killer Richard Hinds

Both women, referred to in court as ‘victim A’ and ‘victim B’, said they blacked out after drinking tequila Blackston had given them.

Blackston was released in 2015 and returned to the US, where he styles himself as a dancer and choreographer.

Andrew said he believes Hinds will now return to the US and continue to deny, as he did during the trial, his guilt for Nicola’s murder.

“He (Hinds) is not going to change now,” Andrew said.

“Him admitting what he did would honestly make no difference to me anyway!

“But I believe he’s going to go back to America and continue insisting he is innocent so he can get on with his life.

Nicola had been studying at a university north of Tokyo on a one-year DCU study abroad programme when she was strangled by musician Hinds in 2012.

She took a train to Tokyo to go to a Nicky Minaj concert with her friend on October 23 as her studies were about to come to an end.

The women encountered Richard Hinds and his friend, James Blackston, after the concert, when they asked for directions. Hinds and Blackston were in Japan working with a touring musician.

They showed Nicola and her friend the way to the Shibuya district. They later drank and danced with them at the Scramble Café and Bar.

Nicola’s friend told a Tokyo court that she lost consciousness in the bar soon after drinking a shot of Tequila that Blackston gave to her.

The men then took the women in a taxi. The car’s CCTV recorded the men speaking excitedly about what they planned to do sexually to the women.

The women were carried from the taxi into the hotel. ​ The two girls were unconscious.

A hotel staff member brought out wheelchairs and the girls were taken in the wheelchairs from the lobby to the men’s hotel rooms.

On May 24, 2012, at 4.11am police were called by hotel staff after noise was heard fromHinds’sroom. Ms Furlong was foundunconscious.

The trial of Hinds would later hear medical evidence that he had strangled her for several minutes and she died painfully.

During his trial, Hinds attempted to save his own skin by telling grotesque and clearly disprovable lies about what happened in the hotel room on the night of the murder.

In sentencing him, the chief judge said Hinds had shown no remorse.

Speaking on Friday, Andrew Furlong said he had lived in dread of Hinds’ release and had coped by not thinking about it.

Andrew Furlong with Nicola’s sister, Andrea.

“I always knew this day would come,” he said. “He 29, still young, and he’ll get to go back to America to live out his life.

"But tomorrow I’ll do the same thing I’ve done every Saturday since Nicola was taken from us. I’ll go to work and I’ll try not to think about him.

“Instead, I’ll think about the positive things that Nicola would have done with her life. And I’ll think about all the things she did when she was alive.”

Today's Headlines

More Irish Crime

Download the Sunday World app

Now download the free app for all the latest Sunday World News, Crime, Irish Showbiz and Sport. Available on Apple and Android devices

WatchMore Videos