family's grief | 

Nicola Furlong's father says pain is still ‘raw’ ahead of her killer's release next week

Nicola was 21 years old when she was murdered by American musician Richard Hinds while she was studying abroad in Japan.

Nicola Furlong

Murderer Richard Hinds

Neasa CumiskeySunday World

The father of Nicola Furlong has said that he still feels “raw” pain about his daughter’s murder as her “sick-minded” killer awaits his release from prison next week.

Nicola was 21 years old when she was murdered by American musician Richard Hinds while she was studying abroad in Japan.

Nicola was on her way to a concert with a friend in May 2012 when the pair asked Richard Hinds and his co-worker James Blackston, who were both working in Japan on a tour.

All four drank and danced together at a nearby bar before Nicola’s friend passed out. She had just taken a Tequila shot handed to her by James Blackston, she said in court.

Murderer Richard Hinds

The two women were bundled into a taxi while Hind and Blackston were captured on CCTV discussing what they would do sexually to Nicola and her friend.

Both women were unconscious when they were brought into a hotel, where a worker prepared wheelchairs for the two girls.

Hinds is due to be released from Japanese prison in a few days' time, and Nicola's dad Andrew has opened up about feeling helpless in the run up to the discharge.

“There's nothing I can do about it. It’s their laws. I can’t change it,” he admitted on 96FM’s The Opinion Line.

“I tried to sue the hotel for it but there’s some law that I couldn’t. I wouldn’t be doing it for the money, I wanted to do it to show what they’d done.

“How the hotel allowed the girls to go up to the room I’ll never forget.

“The wheelchairs were brought out to the taxi. Instead of bringing them to a hospital, they brought them to the bedrooms.

“Is it any different today than it was 10 years ago? Not a bit of difference. It’s as raw today as it was 10 years ago.”

The bereaved father recalled the day he learned of Nicola’s murder, telling listeners of how he saw gardaí pull up to his house unaware of the nightmare that was to come.

“I invited them in thinking it was an unpaid fine or something. I wasn’t expecting what was coming.

“He said, ‘Are you the father of Nicola Rose Furlong?’ and I said, ‘Oh Christ, don’t tell me she’s been in an accident.’

“And he said, ‘No, it’s worse than that. She’s dead.’

“I screamed and shouted, ‘It couldn’t be. There must be some mistake, somebody must have gotten her passport and somebody else was dead.’

“We didn’t know how she died; we just knew she was dead. The embassy couldn’t give us any details at the time but then we got a call telling us she had been murdered.

“The Japanese Embassy kept it to themselves at first because they wanted to find out what they were doing, were they partying, were they using drugs.

“The pain today is the same as it was then. Every single day.”

He said that Hinds showed “no remorse” during his trial as he issued a warning to other young women: “This spiking... it is happening.

“If you have to drug a woman to have something with them, there’s something severely wrong with you.”

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