Nicola Furlong Photo by: Family Hand Out

U.S. accused says murdered Nicola Furlong was ‘tripping’ – Irish friend believes Tokyo student was drugged


Nicola Furlong Photo by: Family Hand Out

The man accused of murdering Irish student Nicola Furlong told a friend the 21-year-old was “tripping” before her death, a court in Japan has heard.

The accused Richard Hinds, 19,  from Memphis, Tennessee denies murdering the young Irish woman on May 24, 2011.

He said he was “paralyzed with fear” after her body was found in a hotel room, according to dancer Dmac Sandoz.

The Irish Sun
reports Sandoz told the court he was in room 1437 ar the Keio Plaza hotel in Tokyo, when he made a call to Kinds room around 3am.

He said Nicola answered the phone, before she handed it to Hinds, who said she was “drunk and tripping”. He said he was shocked when Hinds later called him to say Nicola was lying unconscious on his bed.

Sandoz said: “Hinds was standing there topless and wearing boxer shorts. There was a girl but I did not know it was Nicola at the time.

“I asked what happened and he said, ‘We had sex and she passed out.’ I couldn’t tell if she was breathing and Hinds was paralyzed with fear.

“The hotel staff tried to resuscitate her, beginning by trying to massage her heart. I then saw another girl, Nicola’s friend, and told her that her friend was going to hospital.

“She didn’t seem to understand and kept looking skywards. I told her calmly that it was going to be okay.”

The witness also said he thought the girls were “party girls, the kind who take drugs like speed or meth”.

On Wednesday, the court heard testimony from Nicola’s best friend, who was with her on the night in question. The pair had attended a Nicki Minaj concert before they met the defendant.

The two attended school and college together before travelling to Japan on the educational exchange, the Irish Daily Star reports.

“Nicola was my best friend,” she told the court.

Police allege Nicola’s friend, referred to in court as ‘Victim A’ was indecently assaulted by murder accused Richard Hinds’ friend James Blackston.

Testifying by video link she told the court that she blacked out immediately after drinking a tequila shot bought by Blackston.

The court heard the two friends drank vodka mixed with orange juice during the night before having two tequila shots in a bar with the accused.

“After the second shot, I can’t remember anything,” she said.

“I think the reason I became unconscious was because he (Blackston) may have put something in my drink.

“I know I have never taken drugs myself and I have never become unconscious because of alcohol. The only reason I can think of is he put something in my drink.”

The young woman broke down during her testimony saying: “I feel so angry that he (Hinds) took her away from me and her family and that he isn’t taking any responsibility for the life that he took.”

A witness for the defence, US-based pathologist Dr Marianne Hamel argued it was difficult to detect how Nicola died.

Dr Hamel said: “The marks on Nicola Furlong’s neck were fairly ambiguous.

“We disagree on the amount that she suffered. I don’t believe you can say that from the pictures in the report. But I do agree that she was strangled.”

Nicola was living and studying at Takasaki City University of Economics, as part of an exchange program from Dublin City University.

The victim’s parents Angie and Andrew, as well as her younger sister Andrea have flown to Tokyo to attend the trial.


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