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Last Updated: Thursday, 28 August, 2003, 05:47 GMT 06:47 UK
Death for Japanese school killer
Mamoru Takuma
Takuma is said to have shown little remorse

A Japanese court has sentenced a man to death for stabbing and killing eight children during a rampage through a primary school two years ago.

Thirteen other children and two teachers were injured when Mamoru Takuma stormed Ikeda elementary school near Osaka in western Japan with a kitchen knife.

The 39-year-old former janitor has a history of mental illness, but the judge at Osaka District Court ruled that he was responsible for his actions.

The killings in June 2001 shocked a nation already anxious about a series of apparently senseless crimes, and sparked a debate about security in schools.

Seven girls and a boy between the ages of six and eight were killed as Takuma went from classroom to classroom.

Statement attempt

Takuma admitted the killings and is said to have shown little remorse, reportedly telling the court in June that he could have killed more children if he had attacked a kindergarten.

Psychiatrists reportedly testified that Takuma - who has a history of schizophrenia - was fit to stand trial.

When the judgement was handed down, Takuma was said to have tried to make a statement, but was ordered to be removed from the courtroom.

"I'm going to get death anyway, so let me say what I have to say," he was quoted by public broadcaster NHK as saying before being dragged away by guards.

More than 2,000 people had queued outside the court to get one of 30 seats available for the verdict, according to NHK.

Japan stabbing suspect pleads guilty
27 Dec 01  |  Asia-Pacific
Japan stunned by school massacre
09 Jun 01  |  Asia-Pacific

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