The family of murdered DCU student Nicola Furlong have traveled to Japan to attend the trial of the man accused of killing her.
A Business and Japanese student at DCU, 21-year-old Nicola was studying on an Erasmus programme at Takasaki City University of Economics when she was murdered on May 24th last year.
The Wexford woman was found strangled in a bedroom at the upmarket Keizo Plaza Hotel in central Tokyo hours after attending a Nicki Minaj concert with a friend.
It is believed the friends met two men from the US at the concert – musician Richard Hinds (19) and dancer James Blackston (23) – and returned to the hotel with them later that evening. It was there that Nicola was sexually assaulted and strangled.
News of Nicola’s death shocked her home village of Curracloe in Co. Wexford, as well as the DCU community. In a statement issued by her family in the week after her death, she was described as having stood for “everything that is good in life”.
Nicola’s father Andrew, mother Angie and sister Andrea last week travelled to Japan, where Hinds’ trial for murder began on Monday. The musician has admitted strangling the DCU student but denies killing her intentionally.
Before departing for Japan, Andrew Furlong said “I just want it over with; we’re just looking for justice, whether he gets one year or twenty years so long as he is not let go free”.
The family said they are still finding it hard to accept Nicola is gone but have taken comfort from all the support they have received.
Hinds’ trial will run for two weeks, before breaking for several days. The Furlong family will stay in Tokyo for three weeks, as the court is due to give its final judgement on March 19th.