Tokyo court told Nicola Furlong died of strangulation

Wednesday 06 March 2013 07.49
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Nicola Furlong's family felt the case had gone extremely well today
Nicola Furlong's family felt the case had gone extremely well today
Nicola Furlong died last May in Tokyo
Nicola Furlong died last May in Tokyo

A court in Tokyo has been told that Wexford woman Nicola Furlong, who was found dead in a hotel room in Japan last year, died of strangulation.

Evidence was given by the Professor of Forensic Medicine who performed the post mortem examination on Ms Furlong's body.

He categorically rejected suggestions by the defence that the presence of alcohol in Ms Furlong's blood may have played a contributory part in her death.

Ms Furlong, 21, was found dead in the Keio Plaza hotel in Tokyo's Shinjuku district on 24 May.

Richard Hinds, 19, from Memphis, Tennessee, in the US denies her murder.

The trial has risen for the second day.

Ms Furlong's mother Angela, father Andrew and younger sister Andrea spoke to RTÉ News on their way into court this morning.

They all expressed satisfaction with how the trial is proceeding so far.

Mrs Furlong said she is finding some relief by looking directly at the man accused of killing her daughter.

She said the family felt they were going into the unknown yesterday, but were more confident on the second day of the hearing and felt it had gone extremely well.

Mr Furlong said that after "first-day nerves" the family were feeling upbeat.

Andrea, who was carrying a framed photograph of her sister, said she wanted to hear every detail so Nicola would know she was there for her.

The trial heard from the doctor in the Tokyo Medical Emergency Hospital, who unsuccessfully attempted to revive Ms Furlong with injections of adrenaline.

Dr Kenta Aida said the drug lidocaine had been used in her treatment.

A breathing device inserted into her throat was coated in the drug, which he said explained the traces of lidocaine found in Ms Furlong's blood.

He also said injection marks on her body came from attempts at the hospital to draw blood samples.

The court heard that Ms Furlong had been prescribed Xanax by her doctor in Ireland for anxiety.

Traces of this drug were also found in her blood.

Mr Hinds told the court yesterday he did "lightly press" Ms Furlong's neck, but he did not believe he was the cause of her death.

Ms Furlong, a Dublin City University student from Curracloe, had been studying and living 100km north of the capital, at Takasaki City University of Economics, as part of an exchange programme.

On the night she was strangled, she had travelled with an Irish friend by train to Tokyo to see US rapper Nicki Minaj in concert.

Afterwards, the pair met Mr Hinds and James Blackston, a 23-year-old professional dancer from Los Angeles.

They went to a bar together where they had drinks and danced.

In a separate trial, Mr Blackston has denied sexually assaulting Ms Furlong's friend.

She gave evidence that she cannot remember anything after taking a drink given to her during the evening.

Police were called to the hotel when a loud noise was heard from Mr Hinds' room in the early hours of the morning and Ms Furlong was found unconscious.

She died later in hospital.

The four had earlier been captured on a taxi surveillance camera making their way back to the Keio Plaza Hotel.

The recording shows the two women apparently unconscious at the time.