no remorse | 

Family of murdered Nicola Furlong left reeling as daughter’s killer arrives home in the US

Hinds was deported by Japanese immigration officials back to his family in Memphis, Tennessee on a commercial flight, as Nicola’s family have been left devastated

Neil FetherstonhaughSunday World

The family of murdered Nicola Furlong are at home this weekend dealing with the fact that their daughter’s killer is now back safe in the US.

American musician Richard Hinds (29) was released from Fuchu Prison in Japan last weekend after serving 10 years behind bars for strangling the 21-year-old Co Wexford student in 2012

Hinds was just 19 when he strangled Nicola, who was a DUC exchange student in room 1427 of the Keio Plaza Hotel in Tokyo.

He had carried her unconscious into his hotel room and subsequently claimed that she wordlessly indicated she wanted rough sex.

James Blackston, a dancer and choreographer who was convicted of sexually assaulting Nicola's friend during the taxi ride to the Keio Plaza, was freed in 2015 after serving three years. He has since returned to his life in Los Angeles.

This week, Hinds was deported by Japanese immigration officials back to his family in Memphis, Tennessee on a commercial flight, as Nicola’s family have been left devastated.

Hinds had denied killing Nicola and her father believes he will continue to insist he is innocent.

Andrew Furlong said recently the fact that Japanese authorities kept Hinds behind bars to the last day of a maximum 10 years ordered by the sentencing judge indicated authorities in Japan did not believe he had been rehabilitated.

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

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.

“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 from Hinds’s room. Ms Furlong was found unconscious.

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.

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

“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.”

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