- Title: JAPAN/FILE: Japanese man loses appeal in hostess death case
- Date: 9th December 2010
- Summary: TOKYO, JAPAN (FILE - 2008) (ORIGINALLY 4:3) (REUTERS) EXTERIOR OF TOKYO HIGH COURT SIGN THAT READS IN JAPANESE "
- Embargoed: 24th December 2010 12:00
- Location: Japan
- Country: Japan
- Reuters ID: LVA52L7X4YRZU39I6GFC7YRM0BR9
- Story Text: Japanese media reported on Wednesday (December 8) that an appeal by a former businessman, who was found guilty of kidnapping and attempting to rape - but not killing - British hostess Lucie Blackman in 2000 was rejected and his sentence of life in prison would be upheld.
Japanese serial rapist Joji Obara was convicted in 2008 of dismembering and abandoning the body of Briton Lucie Blackman in 2000, but was found not guilty of killing her by a court that sentenced him to life in prison for other sex crimes.
The Tokyo High Court found the former property developer guilty of kidnapping and attempted rape, but upheld a lower court ruling acquitting him of killing Blackman, then 21, who was working as a hostess in the Roppongi nightlife district.
Japan's Yomiuri newspaper reported that the ruling was dated December 7.
Blackman went missing in July 2000 after saying she was going for a drive with a man. Her remains, including a severed head encased in concrete, were later found in a seaside cave near a condominium owned by Obara.
Obara's purchase of a chainsaw and evidence at the cave, including cement, bags and adhesive tape, showed he was guilty of abandoning her body, the court said. But there was not enough evidence to prove he had caused the death of Blackman, a former British Airways flight attendant from Kent in southern England.
Though found not guilty of killing Blackman, Obara was sentenced to life in prison for a series of other horrific sex crimes.
He was found guilty of raping eight women, and of raping, drugging and causing the death of Carita Ridgway, 21, an Australian hostess who died in hospital in 1992.
Under Japan's legal code, a life sentence is the heaviest punishment for rape resulting in the death of the victim.
The killing of Blackman attracted huge attention both in Japan and abroad because of her family's tenacious campaign to find her.
It also exposed the dangers to women working in Japan's hostess clubs, where men pay hundreds of dollars to drink and chat with scantily clad female companions
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