Page last updated at 11:58 GMT, Wednesday, 4 November 2009

Fugitive 'could have had surgery'

Wanted poster of Tatsuya Ichihashi in Tokyo - June 2009
Posters showing Tatsuya Ichihashi have been posted at railway stations

The man hunted in Japan over the murder of a British woman in Tokyo could have had plastic surgery, local reports say.

A man resembling Tatsuya Ichihashi had plastic surgery in Osaka within the past two weeks, say the news reports.

Mr Ichihashi is suspected of killing Lindsay Ann Hawker, 22, from Brandon, near Coventry, in March 2007. Her body was found buried in a tub at his flat.

Ms Hawker's family say they have received no official confirmation of the reports despite repeated attempts.

Police reward

Detectives attended the clinic where the plastic surgery patient had a follow-up appointment, but he failed to arrive, according to the reports, which local police have refused to either confirm or deny.

When Ms Hawker disappeared after giving Mr Ichihashi an English lesson and friends of hers found his phone number in her room, police visited his flat.

It is two years now since Lindsay was murdered and they have never given up hope that he will be caught
Hawker family statement

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

A statement from Ms Hawker's family said they had been flooded by media enquiries but had been given no official information from police in Japan.

"The Hawkers would like to know who the surgeons were, where Ichihashi, the only suspect, obtained the money for the operations and who is hiding him," the statement read.

It added: "It is two years now since Lindsay was murdered and they have never given up hope that he will be caught."

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

Police in Japan have since offered a 10m yen (£63,397) reward. Ms Hawker's family said the previous largest Japanese police reward was 1m yen.



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