By Jenny Darmody
The DCU community has been left shocked with the news of the tragic death of student Nicola Furlong while studying in Japan.
The 21-year-old Business and Japanese student was studying in Takasaki City University of Economics in Takasaki, Gunma Prefecture, about 95km northwest of Tokyo as part of her DCU course and was due to return to Wexford in July.
Her death came after Ms Furlong was found dead in her hotel room in Tokyo after attending a concert with her friend on Wednesday, May 23.
It is thought that the women’s drinks were spiked at a bar earlier that evening, although Police have not yet released the results of toxicology reports.
Police in Japan have arrested a 19-year-old man in connection with the murder of Ms Furlong. The man admitted to strangling her to police but denies intent to murder.
Nicola and her friend, who was studying with her in Japan, reportedly missed their train after the concert. They then went for drinks with two men they had met earlier that evening. A second man is still being held by Japanese police but is no longer a suspect in the murder.
A week after her death, Nicola’s body was brought back to Wexford for her funeral, attended by over 1,000 people including many DCU students and staff members. The Mass was celebrated by local priest Fr James Fitzpatrick and assisted by DCU chaplain Fr Joe Jones.
In a statement just days after her death, DCU said that “the staff and students of DCU were saddened to learn of the death of one of their students while studying abroad in Japan. We extend our deepest sympathies to the family, classmates and friends at this very distressing time.”