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Last Updated: Tuesday, 24 April 2007, 14:08 GMT 15:08 UK
Obara victim's family tell of anger
A Japanese businessman has been cleared of raping and killing British woman Lucie Blackman in 2000. But Joji Obara was convicted of killing Australian Carita Ridgway in 1992 and eight other rapes. Miss Ridgway's family are angry with the police.

Samantha Termini holds a photo of her sister Carita Ridgway
Samantha Termini said they were still grieving for her sister Carita

Eight years before Lucie Blackman vanished another family were grieving the loss of their daughter.

Carita Ridgway was, like Lucie, 21 years old when she travelled to Japan to work as a hostess in a bar in the Roppongi district of Tokyo.

But Miss Ridgway was Australian. Born in Perth but educated in Sydney, she had arrived in Tokyo in December 1991.

Two months later she fell into the clutches of Joji Obara.

He drugged her with chloroform and then videotaped himself raping her.

The Australian lapsed into a coma and died of liver failure in Tokyo's Hideshima Hospital.

Obara managed to persuade the authorities that she had died of natural causes and he had done everything in his power to help her.

Carita's parents were suspicious but, faced with the official report which seemed to blame food poisoning, they accepted her death.

The police did not search his flat or find the video, which clearly showed him using chloroform while raping her.

The truth took more than eight years to emerge.

On Tuesday, after her daughter's killer was jailed for life, Miss Ridgway's mother, Annette Foster, criticised the Japanese authorities and especially the police.

Carita's mother Annette Foster
Carita's family feel a deep sense of anger, betrayal and disappointment in relation to the 1992 police investigation into Carita's death
Annette Foster

She said: "Carita's family feel a deep sense of anger, betrayal and disappointment in relation to the 1992 police investigation into Carita's death."

Mrs Foster, who was accompanied by Carita's father and sister at a press conference in Tokyo, said: "The fact that Obara went on to continue committing crimes for the next eight years forced on Carita's family great stress, particularly in respect to Lucie Blackman."

She said: "Carita's family respectfully request the Japanese government to set up an independent inquiry into the 1992 police investigation of Carita's death.

"In particular, we would like to know why, when we went to the police, that our concerns and our suspicions were ignored and laughed at."

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