Two charged in assault on dead girl’s friend

Police in Tokyo investigating the killing of Irishwoman Nicola Furlong have charged two American men with assaulting her friend.

Officers believe Ms Furlong and the other woman, also a Wexford native, had their drinks spiked or were given strong alcohol just before the events which led to the 21-year-old Wexford student’s death.

The two Americans, dancer James Blackston, who is in his mid-20s, and a 19-year-old musician, who has not been formally identified due to his age, have been charged with “quasi-forcible indecency” towards the other girl and are being questioned about Ms Furlong’s death.

In relation to that assault, a spokesperson for Tokyo police said: “These two men allegedly took advantage of a female unable to resist due to the fact she was in a comatose state from a highly alcoholic beverage.

“On a taxi ride between Shibuya and Shinjuku they took advantage of a woman by touching her body. As that is an indecent act, they have been charged with quasi-forcible indecency.”

Japanese media reported that an in-taxi surveillance camera showed the alleged assault on the woman.

Ms Furlong’s body was found in a room at the Keio Plaza Hotel on Thursday just hours after she and the other woman attended a Nicki Minaj concert. Hotel staff went to the room after reports of a loud noise at 3.20am. They found her lying on the ground, face up, with one of the men, believed to be the 19-year-old, nearby.

An autopsy has revealed she was strangled and it is believed she was also sexually assaulted. The arrested men said they knew nothing about her death.

Ms Furlong, a Dublin City University exchange student from Curracloe, was studying at the Takasaki City University of Economics. She was due to return to Ireland in July.


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