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Tearful plea in Tokyo body case

Published: 12:22PM Thursday March 29, 2007 Source: Reuters

The father of a young British woman whose body was found naked in a bathtub full of sand near Tokyo made a tearful plea for information on a man police are hunting.

English teacher Lindsay Ann Hawker, 22, from Brandon, near Coventry, was found dead on Monday in the city of Ichikawa, east of Tokyo.

Police have issued an arrest warrant and launched a nationwide hunt for the Japanese man who lived alone in the apartment where her body was found on the balcony.

William Hawker broke down in tears on Wednesday as he demanded the suspect's capture.

"My daughter was a lovely girl, she would've helped anybody, and it is because she would help anybody she is where she is now," he told a news conference.

Tatsuya Ichihashi, 28, fled when police arrived to question him, losing his shoes and a rucksack he was carrying in a chase, a police spokesman said.

Ichihashi's neighbours told Japanese television they had heard banging noises coming from his apartment at night.

"We are investigating the cause of her death," the spokesman said. "It is unclear at the moment."

The case comes less than a month before a verdict is due in the trial of a wealthy Japanese businessman accused of killing British woman Lucie Blackman, 21, in 2000.

The father of Lucie Blackman, Tim Blackman, told Japanese television: "It's very tragic news.

"Of course we are thinking very much about Tokyo and Lucie's case at the moment."

Police found Blackman's mutilated body buried in a seaside cave near an apartment belonging to the businessman, who has denied the charges against him.

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