burden of grief | 

Mum of murdered Nicola Furlong still grieving as killer to be released in 23 days

Nicola Furlong was just 21 years old when she killed by American Richard Hinds while studying abroad in Japan in 2012

Nicola

Nicola Furlong and her mum Angela.

Nicola

Maeve McTaggartSunday World

The mother of Nicola Furlong is speaking out ahead of the release of the man who killed her daughter while studying abroad in Japan in 2012.

Nicola was just 21 when she was murdered by American musician Richard Hinds in a killing that shocked the nation.

Her mum, Angela, will appear on Primetime tonight as her still grief-stricken family fear Hinds’ release from a Japanese prison in 23 days time.

"He’s counting down the days till his freedom when he gets on with his life and we still have to carry this burden every single day,” she tells RTÉ.

Nicola was on her way to a concert with a friend in May 2012 when the pair asked two Americans for directions. They were Richard Hinds and his co-worker James Blackston, both working in Japan on a musician’s 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.

Nicola

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.

Tonight on Primetime, Angela explains her reaction to the devastating footage shown in court.

"It was awful. She couldn’t stand, to put two girls into wheelchairs. That’s some sort of sick mind that would do that. Horrendous.”

James Blackston was later jailed for sexually assaulting Nicola’s friend in another room and for a separate sexual assault weeks earlier on another woman he allegedly spiked.

Hotel staff called the police when noises were heard from Richard Hinds’ room. He had strangled Nicola, who was found unconscious by officers just after 4am on May 24.

As he was 19 at the time, Nicola’s killer was sentenced as a juvenile and given 5 to 10 years with labour.

He has never shown remorse, so has served a full sentence and will be released in just 23 days.

“The fact that he showed no remorse,” Angela says on Primetime tonight. “He's just a horrible, nasty person to do that to a little girl. The day he walked past me in court, when he had been sentenced, that he had to count 10 years.

"We were counting days without Nic and now he's counting days till his freedom when he gets on with his life and we still have to carry this burden every single day."

On RTÉ this evening, Angela recounts the heart breaking moment she got the call that her daughter had been killed half-way across the world.

Nicola Furlong and her mum Angela.

"I just fell to the ground. There was a noise came out of me, it wasn't human. It was just a shock. It was horrendous.

"I'll never forget that morning, at that time we didn't know the circumstances surrounding it. When you hear of an accident you automatically think of a road traffic accident, and I was trying to think, was she on her bike?

"I then had to go up to Gorey and tell my parents that Nicola was gone. We didn't know that the circumstances for about two days."

Angela reveals that she travelled to Japan with Nicola’s father Andrew and her sister Andrea for more than just the trial of Hinds:

"I just wanted to make sure there were no traces of Nicola left in Tokyo. The clothes she wore the night she was murdered.

"I have those at home. The only thing that's missing is her shoe. There was one shoe in Tokyo belonging to Nicola and that is it.

"Everything else, all trace of Nicola is gone from Tokyo, back home with us, where she should be."

In July, Andrew Furlong told the Irish Independent that the family have been “living a nightmare ever since" Nicola was killed.

"He’s going to get out and you’d be worried for other ­people’s daughters.”

A security source told sundayworld.com in May of this year that Hinds will be released from prison as he “cannot legally be held any longer. He will be just 29 years of age. Still with his entire life ahead of him.”

Angela Furlong speaks to RTÉ’s Primetime at 9.35pm tonight on RTÉ One and RTÉ Player.


Today's Headlines

More Irish News

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