American dancer denies charges of luring student Nicola Furlong to her death

Nicola Furlong

An American dancer charged in connection with the death of Irish girl Nicola Furlong in Tokyo has branded the accusations against him as ‘lies’.

James Blackston, a 23-year-old, is one of the two American men suspected of luring exchange student Nicola Furlong to her death in a Tokyo hotel last year according to the Irish Times.

Blackston is currently on trial in Tokyo’s District Court for sexually assaulting a friend of Furlong known only as Victim A.

He has denied all charges, denied using a rape drug and has branded the accusations against him as ‘lies’.

The paper reports that Blackston told the court yesterday that the 21-year-old Furlong was drunk when she left a Tokyo bar with himself and Richard Hinds, another dancer.

Read more: Murdered Irish student’s heartbreaking text to mother - friend remembers little of tragic night

Hinds has admitted strangling Furlong at the Keio Plaza Hotel and will go on trial for murder in March.

Blackston told the court: “My friend was helping her to walk. Although I did not feel responsible for the two women, I was not going to leave them on the street.”

He told the court that he took the victim to his hotel ‘out of kindness’.

The claims by Blackston contradict testimony from the Irish victim who has given evidence that the Americans approached her and Ms Furlong after a rap concert.

The victim said both women blacked out after downing a drink waiting for the men to return from the toilet.

Tokyo police have produced surveillance footage which shows Blackston groping the victim in the back of a taxi on the way to the hotel.

The report says both men were later filmed carrying the unconscious women through the lobby in wheelchairs.

Blackston insisted in court that he ‘wasn’t even thinking of sex’ and said he was ‘offended’ when the Irish woman thought he was inviting her to his room.

The closing arguments in the case will be heard next month.