Beaten and asphyxiated

Lindsay Hawker, the British teacher found murdered in Japan, had been
beaten, tied up and either suffocated or strangled, an autopsy revealed

Miss Hawker’s naked body was found buried in a
bathtub full of sand with only her hand sticking out, left on the
fourth floor balcony belonging to a man she is understood to have been
giving English lessons.

Neighbours apparently heard scraping noises coming from the flat at around the time she was being killed.

Today, as her body was released to her father,
William, who had flown out to Japan, it emerged that the prime suspect,
Tatsuya Ichihashi, 28, studied horticulture at university and had met
Miss Hawker in a bar, followed her home and begged for an English

The tape used to bind Miss Hawker’s hands is
commonly used by gardeners, and the sand used to bury her is for sold
in most garden centres

Police have not revealed whether she was sexually assaulted but said she had been severely beaten around the face.

also revealed that they had found a shopping trolley in the bike shed
of Ichihashi’s apartment block, in Ichikawa near Tokyo, which they
believe he may have used to transport bags of sand from a garden

Detectives said today they believed that
Ichihashi met Miss Hawker, who had been in Japan for five months
teaching English at a Tokyo language school, for the first time 10 days

He reportedly followed her back to her home, running after her as she cycled, and pleaded with her to give him English lessons.

She let him into her apartment in the presence of her two flatmates,
where he wrote his name and contact details on a piece of paper for her
and also drew a sketch of her.

She is then believed to have gone to his apartment on Sunday morning to give him a lesson, and did not return.

It also emerged today that as Ichihashi ran
barefoot from the police who had come looking for Miss Hawker, he
dropped a backpack containing clothes, suggesting he was preparing to
go on the run.

Miss Hawker’s handbag and passport were also found nearby. Reports also
said that Ichihashi was fanatical about Manga cartoons and that police
were looking at the possibility he killed Miss Hawker in imitation of a
storyline in one of the popular cartoon-books.

He is thought to have met Miss Hawker at one of the bars she frequented in the area near where he lived.

today raided a hotel after a tip-off that someone resembling Ichihashi,
who is still at large, was staying there, but emerged empty-handed.

Mr Hawker, from Brandon, Coventry, who is in
Japan with his daughter’s boyfriend, Ryan Garside, is expected to fly
back with the body in the next few days.

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