Family of student murdered in Japan tell of pain

The sister of murdered Nicola Furlong has revealed how she had her sister’s face tattooed on the inside of her left arm next to her heart as a constant reminder of her sibling.

The DCU student was found dead in a Tokyo hotel room earlier this year after a night out at a Nicki Minaj concert with her Irish pal on May 24.

Andrea Furlong — the younger sister and only sibling of Wexford student Nicola — told Saturday Night with Miriam how she still has to stop herself from texting her sister.

She said: “We were so close and never did anything without each other. She texted every day and Facebooked every day.

“It’s just so hard not having Nicola on the end of the phone and Facebook. She’s not there anymore. Sometimes I go to text her and I have to stop myself.”

But she said the tattoo of her 21-year-old sister on her left inside arm is a permanent daily reminder. “Me and Nicola had our names tattooed on each other before that. We both got our names tattooed in Arabic on each other.

“I said I wanted to get a tattoo and then someone sent a drawing of Nicola with angel wings and flowers and everything around it.

“Then I said I was getting a portrait. I brought it in and he drew it up for me.”

At the end of July, a Japanese court sent US musician Richard Hinds, aged 19, forward for trial in the criminal courts, which will treat him as an adult.

He is charged with strang-ling Furlong to death in a Tokyo hotel in May but a date has yet to be set for the trial.

Andrea and her parents, Angie and Andrew, told of their memories of the fun-loving student and their determination to get justice.

Her 18-year-old sister told how her older sister had never wanted to go to Tokyo as part of her DCU degree. “She never really wanted to go anyway. She knew she had to do it or the two years in college would be a waste and she didn’t want to waste two years of her life.”

Her mother Angie said: “We’re getting over the shock of it very slowly, day by day, and trying to learn to live with the pain.”

She recalled how her daughter had texted her to tell her of her excitement about going to the concert the day before the murder.

“They attended the concert and had a great night. They came from the concert then and they met two guys who told them the best place to go for clubs and socialising in Tokyo. The girls went there and met the guys in the bar again.

“Just from what we’ve been told the boys bought them some drinks and they can’t remember anything after that.”

Angie said the friend with Nicola on the night she died has kept in close contact with her since the tragedy in May.

Nicola’s father, Andrew, said they have been overwhelmed by the outpouring of sympathy and support from their local community and the rest of Ireland.

He said all three of them will travel to Tokyo for the trial when a date is finalised. “All three of us are going back out. I’m very confident we will get justice for Nicola at the back of it all,” Andrew said.


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