Man cleared over Lucie Blackman death

The family of Lucie Blackman who died in Japan in 2001 have been left devastated as the man they believed killed their daughter has been cleared.

54-year-old Joji Obara, a Japanese businessman, was cleared of raping and killing Miss Blackman.

21-year-old Lucie had been working at a bar in Tokyo and disappeared in July 2000.

The judge said that there was no proof that Obara alone was responsible for Lucie’s death.

Lucie’s mother, Jane Steare, said on the result of the trial: “I’m heartbroken. I just can’t believe this. My worst fears have come true.”

Speaking before the trial to the BBC she described the pain and anguish she had been through.

She said: “To lose a child and to know her body was desecrated in such an evil way is the greatest and most unrelenting pain I have ever had to endure.

“I often awake again in the early hours and begin wondering if this was the time of night she died.

“I wonder if she suffered, ‘Did she feel any pain? Did she call out my name?’ I will never know.”

Mr Obara was jailed for life for raping nine other women, one of whom an Australian, Carita Ridgway, died from liver failure after the incident.

The Japanese police have been heavily criticised for their handling of the investigations, with the families of Miss Ridgway and Blackman both unhappy at how slowly the police reacted to claims that their daughters had disappeared.

The Blackman family has since setup the Lucie Blackman Trust which provides advice for solo females travelling abroad.

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