Page last updated at 17:08 GMT, Wednesday, 11 March 2009

Japan murder detective replaced

Lindsay Ann Hawker
Linsday Hawker was found dead two years ago

The detective in charge of the inquiry into the murder of a school teacher in Japan has been replaced.

Lindsay Ann Hawker, from Brandon, near Coventry, was found dead in a bath filled with sand on a balcony in Ichikawa, east of Tokyo, in March 2007.

Her body was found at 28-year-old Tatsuya Ichihashi's flat, but he fled before he could be arrested.

The Japanese police confirmed Shinya Oguma had been removed from the case but refused to discuss why.

His removal comes days after an interview with the BBC's Inside Out programme.

Inside Out reporters returned to Japan two years on from the 22-year-old's death.

I believe those investigators conducted their job appropriately, in accordance with the law and other regulations
Shinya Oguma

In his interview, Mr Oguma said he felt officers had acted appropriately.

"At the stage that the investigators went to Tatsuya Ichihashi's apartment it was still not clear that he was involved in this incident and it was not clear that she (Lindsay) was already murdered," he said.

"Therefore the investigators who went there were faced with difficult decisions.

"I believe those investigators conducted their job appropriately, in accordance with the law and other regulations."

Miss Hawker had been teaching English after graduating from the University of Leeds in 2006.

A post-mortem examination found she had been suffocated and had suffered severe injuries to her face and arms.

'Every day hard'

As part of the BBC investigation, Inside Out reporters tracked down the taxi driver who drove Lindsay and Ichihashi back to his apartment on the day she was killed.

The driver, Yoshiaki Ishizuka said that, despite the rain, he was asked to stop a long way short of Ichihashi's home.

However, police have previously said that they believed both had been dropped off outside the apartment and that the murder had not been pre-meditated.

Speaking to Inside Out, Bill Hawker, Lindsay's father Bill said: "Every day is hard for us - my life will never be the same again.

"We want justice for Lindsay. Each day goes by and sometimes I feel like never getting up.

"But we have to keep getting up, have to keep finding a little bit more about how this could've happened."

Mr Hawker is to visit Tokyo again to mark the second anniversary of Lindsay's death on 27 March.

BBC Inside Out West Midlands will be shown on BBC One at 1930 GMT on Wednesday.

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