Page last updated at 14:47 GMT, Friday, 20 March 2009

Hawker visit 'to highlight case'

Lindsay Ann Hawker
Linsday Hawker was teaching English in Japan

The family of a teacher murdered in Japan say they are returning to the country to "put the story back on the front pages" two years after her death.

Lindsay Ann Hawker, from Brandon, near Coventry, was found dead on a balcony at the flat of Tatsuya Ichihashi, 29, after going missing on 25 March, 2007.

Her father Bill Hawker said he aimed to put the face of suspected killer Ichihashi "on every TV screen".

The family will also meet the new detective heading the case.

Mr and Mrs Hawker are travelling to Tokyo on Saturday with their daughters Lisa and Louise.

Miss Hawker, 22, was murdered after teaching English lessons to Ichihashi in a coffee shop in Tokyo on 25 March, 2007.

Bill Hawker in Japan
Bill Hawker has handed out leaflets on his visits to Japan

Her body was found in a bath when police went to Ichihashi's flat, but he fled before he could be arrested, sparking the search for him.

Mr Hawker said he had been back to Japan four times since his daughter's murder and it was always very difficult.

"Each time I say that I can't go back again, but I realise I have to go back to put the story back on the front pages," he said.

"It puts Ichihashi's face on every TV screen and that's all I want."

'New ideas'

Journalists from the BBC's Inside Out recently went to Japan to report on the police investigation.

Mr Hawker said all the people on the street asked by the reporters if they recognised Ichihashi's photo had done, which suggested the family's appeal was working.

Earlier this month, Japanese police confirmed the leading detective Shinya Oguma had been removed from the case, but did not say why.

Mr Hawker said Mr Oguma had done a good job, but he welcomed a new leader.

"We hope the new person has new ideas, new initiatives," he said.

Lindsay's mother Julie added the family would work for about 16 hours a day during their four-day visit.

She said the Japanese people were behind their campaign, but believed they may be frightened to approach or report on Ichihashi.

"This man's a coward, he murdered a young, innocent girl," she said.

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