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Last Updated: Saturday, 30 September 2006, 14:11 GMT 15:11 UK
Lucie's father takes cash payment
Tim Blackman
Mr Blackman has accepted cash from a friend of Mr Obara

The father of murdered British hostess Lucie Blackman has admitted taking money from a friend of the Japanese man charged with killing his daughter.

Tim Blackman was paid 100 million yen (453,797) by a friend of Joji Obara, who is currently on trial for allegedly abducting, raping and killing her.

Mr Blackman said Mr Obara still denied murdering the 21-year-old.

The prosecutors will start giving their closing statements on Tuesday and a verdict is expected in December.

Lucie Blackman, who was found dead in a Japanese village in 2000, was from Sevenoaks in Kent and 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.

Mr Blackman said Mr Obara was aware his friend, an industrialist with businesses in Japan and the UK, had made the offer of condolence which is acceptable under Japanese law.

Family disagreement

He admitted that Lucie's mother Jane Steare, who he is now divorced from, saw any payouts as "blood money".

Mr Blackman, who is from the Isle of Wight, also said his two other children, Rupert and Sophie, did not agree with his decision to take the money.

He said: "I know my ex-wife referred to it as blood money but I do not understand that or see that at all. I think it is through lack of information.

Lucie Blackman
Lucie Blackman was working as a Tokyo hostess when she died

"The majority of the money will be put into an account somewhere and we will see how everybody feels about it at the end of the trial."

Mrs Steare has previously said that Mr Obara's "defence team" had offered her 200,000 but that she had rejected this offer.

Mr Blackman said: "It is really difficult as a parent and head of a family to make decisions sometimes when people have lots of different views about it but at the end of the day you have to make the decision that you are going to make.

"There is just so much emotional stuff attached to anything relating to Lucie's death. It is difficult for [her brother and sister] to see backwards and forwards."

He explained he had taken the offer because the opportunity for a payout was due to expire at the end of this month and if Obara were to be found guilty, there would be no chance of a civil suit because he has been declared bankrupt.

A substantial amount of the money will go to the Lucie Blackman Trust, created in Lucie's name, while the rest is likely to be used to support the Blackman family in the future.

He said the offer would not have any impact on the trial's outcome. A verdict is expected by the end of the year.

Lucy Blackman's mother speaks of her pain

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