Teenage American musician Richard Hinds has been found guilty of the murder of Irish student Nicola Furlong in Tokyo.

But her family have reacted angrily to the maximum 10 year sentence handed down by a Japanese court.

Her mother Angela cried during the long explanation for sentencing.

Outside the court she said: “This decision is a travesty. It’s not enough, given the pain he caused Nicola.

“We’re not leaving here believing we have justice. We still don’t know the truth of what happened in that hotel room.”

Nicola’s sister Andrea said: “I am disgusted by the sentencing. I just want to leave Japan, go home and never return.”

The Irish Times reports that the Tokyo District Court sentenced the 19-year-old Hinds to a maximum of 10 years for strangling the Wexford girl.

The nine strong panel of judges called the murder last May 24th ‘atrocious and vicious in nature’.
They described Hinds’ account of what happened as ‘not credible’.

Lead judge Masaharu Ashizawa delivered a verdict of ‘not less than five and no more than 10 years with labour’.

The Judge said: “The defendant has continually given irrational explanations in his defence that have dishonoured the victim.”

The report says the sentence was the maximum allowed under Japanese law because Hinds is a minor.

The Judge added: “The tendency of sentencing in juvenile crimes means we cannot choose the death penalty or life sentence.”

Hinds did not react when the verdict was read out but turned to smile and acknowledge his family as he walked out of the court.

The official court verdict said: “The defendant knew that what he was doing was highly dangerous and could lead to death. He also knew what the results of his actions would be. It can be concluded that he intended to kill the victim.”

The Irish Times report says Hinds will likely serve out his time in a Japanese prison, working in a small factory for about 5,000 yen ($60) a month and he could be released in five years with good behavior.