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Last Updated: Thursday, 20 April 2006, 12:22 GMT 13:22 UK
Lucie trial told of mother's pain
Lucie Blackman
The trial has been going on for three years
The mother of Lucie Blackman, found dead in a Japanese village six years ago, has told a Tokyo court of her "unrelenting pain" since the killing.

Jane Steare cried as she described Ms Blackman, 21, as a "beautiful woman" who was like a sister to her.

Joji Obara is accused of the abduction, rape and manslaughter of Ms Blackman, 21, in 2000, which he denies. He refused to attend Thursday's hearing.

Ms Blackman, from Sevenoaks in Kent, was working in Tokyo when she vanished.

The former flight attendant had a job as a bar hostess at a nightclub in the city.

Her dismembered body was found in a cave in the fishing village of Miura, outside Tokyo, following a seven-month search.

Lucie Blackman's mother, Jane Steare
I have rejected all and any financial offers from the accused
Jane Steare

Mrs Steare told judges the desecration of her child was the "greatest and most unrelenting pain she had ever had to endure", said BBC correspondent Chris Hogg, who was in court.

She said the last contact she had with her daughter was a card, in which she told Mrs Steare how much she loved her.

Mrs Steare later told reporters Mr Obara's "defence team" had offered her 200,000 "in order to undermine the impact of my statement today".

"I have rejected all and any financial offers from the accused," she said.

Mrs Steare added she had spent seven months praying Lucie would be found.

"But my worst fears came true when she was found not only dead but her beautiful body had been chain-sawed into pieces.

"Her beautiful long hair had been shaved off and her head had been encased in concrete.

"I used to believe that the sorrow of any parent losing a child is the greatest sorrow anyone can know, but it got worse.

"To lose a child and to know that her body was desecrated in such an evil way is the greatest and most unrelenting pain I have ever had to endure."

Slow system

Ms Blackman's father Tim from the Isle of Wight, has attended the three-year trial on several occasions and will also make a statement to judges about the impact of his daughter's killing.

The Japanese legal system is extremely slow, said our correspondent, with hearings held only once every few weeks.

The court has already heard businessman Mr Obara's assertion that Ms Blackman left his apartment with another unnamed man on the day she disappeared.

The case has exposed disturbing aspects of Tokyo's sleazy underworld and the authority's unwillingness to acknowledge its existence, our correspondent said.

The trial is unlikely to end for many months, he added.

Lucy Blackman's mother speaks of her anguish

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