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The BBC's Charles Scanlon
"The Blackmans must now wait for the results of DNA tests"
 real 56k

Tim Blackman, father of missing girl
"The assumption is that these are part's of Lucy's body"
 real 56k

Friday, 9 February, 2001, 13:37 GMT
Lucie hunt police find remains
Police near the cave at Miura
Forensic tests were being carried out on the remains
Japanese police investigating the disappearance of British bar hostess Lucie Blackman have found the remains of a woman's body.

Parts of a woman's leg and hand were found near a cave at Miura, at the mouth of Tokyo Bay about 30 miles south of the capital.


The assumption is that these are parts of Lucie's body

Tim Blackman
Lucie's father
Tokyo Metropolitan police say they are trying to identify the body parts but could not comment further at this stage.

The former British Airways stewardess, 22, from Sevenoaks in Kent, has not been seen since July last year.

Her father Tim Blackman said her family have suspected for a long time that Lucie is dead.

"The assumption is that these are parts of Lucie's body," he told BBC Breakfast News.

Lucie Blackman
Lucie has been missing since July
"I got a phonecall at 0345GMT from a member of the press in Japan and he was just telling us that parts of a body had been found and that he received this information from the police.

"We will have to wait if that is confirmed or not through DNA testing."

Lucie was working as a hostess in a Tokyo nightclub when she disappeared during a day-trip to the Chiba coast east of Tokyo with an unidentified man on 1 July.

Hundreds more officers are now being mobilised to increase the search on the stretch of beach.

Suspect

A Japanese businessman, who has an apartment near where the discovery was made, has been suspected in the disappearance of the hostess.

Wealthy property developer Joji Obara, 48, - who is already on trial for the rape of five women - has denied involvement in the much publicised disappearance of Ms Blackman.

But he has admitted having drinks with her at the bar where she worked.

Lucie Blackman timeline
1 July 2000: Lucie Blackman disappears
3 July: Her friend Louise Phillips receives a phone call saying Lucie has joined a cult
12 July: Tim Blackman arrives in Tokyo and makes an appeal
23 August: A Japanese businessman commits suicide after being questioned about Lucie
11 October: Police question Joji Obara about her disappearance
9 February 2001: Body parts are found near Mr Obara's home
Mr Obara's lawyer has accused investigators of wrongly trying to link him with Ms Blackman's disappearance.

Police have made no charges against the businessman in connection with Lucie's disappearance.

But he has since been charged with the abduction, drugging and indecent assault of another Western woman.

Mr Blackman suspects Mr Obara was involved in his daughter's death.

He added: "It's been an extremely traumatic time for us particularly when this man was originally arrested. We started to fear the worst at that stage.

"I think we started to feel that Lucie had run into an awful situation and that potentially what he had administered to her could have been fatal.

"That was on information we had received earlier on in regard to his activities of raping and abducting woman".

Mr Blackman, 47, a property developer, says he had no immediate plans to fly to Japan until further DNA testing is carried out.

Roppongi district of Tokyo
Lucie Blackman's family have made repeated appeals for information

Since Ms Blackman's disappearance her father has made a number of emotional appeals for help from the Japanese public during frequent visits to Tokyo.

More than 30,000 leaflets with Ms Blackman's photograph on have been distributed around Tokyo, and her family has put up a 10,000 reward for information leading to her discovery.

The family also set up a hotline in Tokyo and private investigators from both Britain and Japan have helped in the search.

A British Embassy spokeswoman in Tokyo said they were aware of the latest reports.

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See also:

09 Feb 01 | UK
A father's long wait
26 Jan 01 | Asia-Pacific
Lucie suspect held over Australian death
28 Dec 00 | Asia-Pacific
DNA 'link' to missing Lucie
14 Dec 00 | Asia-Pacific
Japanese executive denies Lucie link
14 Nov 00 | Asia-Pacific
Lucie's father appeals to hostesses
27 Oct 00 | Asia-Pacific
Lucie suspect on separate rape charge
21 Oct 00 | Asia-Pacific
Man 'admits' Japan assaults
12 Oct 00 | Asia-Pacific
Man questioned over missing Briton
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