'I only lightly pressed on her neck during sex': U.S. man denies strangling Irish student in Tokyo after Nicki Minaj concert – as her sister says he deserves death sentenceRichard Hinds, 19, is accused of killing Nicola Furlong, 21, in a hotel room
The defence suggested she died of an overdose of alcohol and drugsProsecutors claim Hinds strangled Ms Furlong with a towel
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Arrested: Richard Hinds, from Memphis, has admitted to strangling Irish student Nicola Furlong in a Tokyo hotel room on May 24, but insisted he did not mean to kill her.
Painful journey: Victim Nicola Furlong with her father Andrew
The defence suggested she died of an overdose of alcohol and drugs.
'I do not believe I was the cause of her death,' Hinds told the court. 'I had no intent or reason to hurt, harm or kill her.'
Ms Furlong, a Dublin City University
undergraduate from Curracloe, Co Wexford, came to Tokyo with a friend to
see US rapper Nicki Minaj in concert and met Hinds, 19, and his friend,
professional dancer James Blackston, 23, afterwards.
Prosecutors, who claim Hinds
strangled Ms Furlong with a towel, said he and Blackston got the two
women drunk and may have drugged them before taking them by taxi to a
hotel in central Tokyo, where they borrowed wheelchairs to get the
unconscious women to their rooms.
Ms Furlong was later found unconscious in her room after another guest complained of a loud noise.
She died after being taken to hospital.
Musician: 19-year-old Hinds, who has not been named under Japanese law, moved to Japan in April to pursue his music career
Ms Furlong, who was studying in Japan, was reportedly found unconscious
in a hotel room with Hinds standing nearby after another hotel guest
heard a loud noise. She was pronounced dead in hospital
Shocking taxi CCTV footage shows Ms Furlong and her friend unconscious as they travelled to the hotel where she was killed.
The footage, which has not been released by police, shows Blackston sexually assaulting Ms Furlong's friend in the cab.
Richard Hinds and Blackston are recorded talking excitedly about sex as the women sat apparently unconscious.
Blackston’s defence lawyer Tsutomu
Nakamura said: 'We can see the four persons, two guys and two girls. Two
girls were unconscious.
'The video shows Blackston touching one girl's private parts.'
He added that the two students had to be carried into the hotel, adding: “Each guy brought a girl to the hotel entrance.
Charged: James Blackston, 23, is charged with sexually assaulting Ms Furlong's friend, who is also a 21-year-old Irish student. He is not a suspect in Ms Furlong's death
'Also at that time the two girls were unconscious. A hotel person prepared two wheelchairs for the girls.'
Blackston, from Los Angeles, faces charges of sexually assaulting Ms Furlong's friend in a separate room.
On social networks, Blackston brands himself the 'Kingtight Kingofdance'.
The dancer claims he has appeared in music videos for stars such as the Black Eyed Peas, Chris Brown and Jennifer Lopez.
Ms Furlong had been studying and
living around 100km north at Takasaki City University of Economics, as
part of an exchange programme.
Scene: Ms Furlong was found in a room in the Keio Plaza Hotel in Tokyo. Hinds and Blackston were arrested at the scene, Hinds was re-arrested on Thursday on suspicion of murder
Hotel: The men took the women to the hotel in a taxi, where the alleged sexual assault took place
Hinds, who graduated from Central High School Memphis in 2011 and moved to Japan in April 2012 to pursue his music career.
The Tokyo trial is expected to last
more than a week and Ms Furlong's parents Andrew and Angie and her
sister Andrea are staying in the city to await the verdict and any
Speaking to The Irish Sun Andrea said: 'Her killer ended not only her life but our lives as well. He doesn’t deserve to breathe the same air as us.'
Andrea added: 'My parents aren’t interested in the death sentence but I am.
'I’m hoping that if he doesn’t get
the death penalty that he rots. He doesn’t deserve to have been the last
one to see her breathing either.'
School: Ms Furlong was on a study abroad program at the Takasaki City University of Economics, pictured
On trial: A woman walks by Tokyo District Court during the trial of Richard Hinds in Tokyo
Her mother Angie is not interested in the sentence as she explained nothing can ease the pain of her losing her 'baby.'
She explained: 'I really don’t care what the sentence is. Nothing’s going to bring Nicola back to me now.'
Although murder can carry the death
penalty in Japan, prosecutors were not expected to seek it. Blackston
faces a maximum of four years if found guilty of assaulting Ms Furlong's
The verdict for Hinds is scheduled to be announced on March 19. Blackston's trial is expected to conclude on March 13.
Concert: The two students had been to a concert for U.S. rapper Nicki Minaj before they met the men. It is not clear whether the suspects were performers with Minaj