A JAPANESE man has been sentenced to life in prison for the rape and murder of Brandon teacher Lindsay Ann Hawker.
Tatsuya Ichihashi admitted killing the 22-year-old in 2007 but said her death was accidental.
Miss Hawker’s body was found buried in a sand-filled bathtub on the balcony of Ichihashi’s flat in Ichikawa City, east of Tokyo.
She had earlier given him an English lesson in a nearby cafe.
Leeds University graduate Miss Hawker travelled to Japan in October 2006.
Post-mortem results showed she died of suffocation, and prosecutors said she was strangled after the rape.
Lindsay’s family had called for the death sentence
Ichihashi went on the run for more than two years, living rough and even resorting to plastic surgery to change his appearance. He was finally caught after the doctor contacted police in November 2009.
During his trial Ichihashi, 32, testified that Miss Hawker accidentally choked to death after he gagged her to silence her screams. He claims he tried to revive her after she stopped breathing.
In a book published from prison titled Until I Was Arrested, Ichihashi detailed his time on the run, calling the account “a gesture of contrition for the crime I committed”.
He also expressed a desire to give any royalties earned through the book to the Hawker family.
They have rejected the offer.
The victim’s father, Bill Hawker, had called for the death sentence, the maximum punishment for murder under Japanese law.
Miss Hawker’s family, including her sisters Lisa and Louise, travelled from Britain to be at the trial in Chiba.
Her mother Julia wiped tears from her face and nodded several times as she listened to the result.
Ichihashi, in a black shirt and grey trousers, with a mop of curly hair, did not move as the verdict was being read out.