Page last updated at 15:27 GMT, Monday, 29 June 2009 16:27 UK

Japan murder hunt reward raised

Lindsay Ann Hawker
Lindsay Ann Hawker's body was found in a bathtub filled with sand

Police in Japan hunting the suspected killer of a Warwickshire teacher have offered what is thought to be their largest ever reward for information.

Tatsuya Ichihashi, 30, is suspected of killing Lindsay Ann Hawker, 22, from Brandon, in Tokyo in March 2007.

Police in Japan have now offered a 10m yen (£63,397) reward.

Lindsay's mother, Julia, said: "We won't rest until we get justice when this man is finally caught - we hope this reward will make that happen."

The family said the previous largest Japanese police reward was 1m yen.

We hope it will finally lead to Ichihashi's arrest so we can finally get justice for our beautiful Lindsay
Julia Hawker, Lindsay's mother

Ms Hawker went missing after giving Mr Ichihashi an English lesson.

Mr Ichihashi escaped as detectives arrived at his apartment. Ms Hawker's body was found in a bathtub filled with sand.

Despite several appeals for information, there have been no sightings of the fugitive.

Police are working on the basis that he is in hiding and being given help, the Hawker family's spokeswoman Amanda Stocks said.

Officers have posted 30,000 new posters with photographs of the suspect at police and railway stations across Japan.

On Monday, they also handed out flyers at three railway stations near the scene of the incident calling for the public's co-operation.

Wanted poster of Tatsuya Ichihashi in Tokyo - June 2009
Posters showing Tatsuya Ichihashi are at railway stations

Ms Hawker's family have been critical of the Japanese police investigation.

They visited Japan in March to mark the second anniversary of her death and to try to raise the profile of the inquiry, which they felt had stalled.

In a statement, Julia Hawker, said they wished the higher reward had been offered sooner.

"We are pleased that the police have raised the reward to such a high figure and think it now is more reflective of the atrocity committed.

"We hope it will finally lead to Ichihashi's arrest so we can finally get justice for our beautiful Lindsay.

"But we have written to the Japanese police to ask why it has taken them so long to increase the reward - we were told that it was not possible to increase the reward previously and we feel had this been done immediately after Lindsay had been murdered we may have had justice by now."

Japanese police contacted the family last month to propose the increased reward.

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