More than a week after she died in a Tokyo hotel room, the family of murdered 21-year-old student Nicola Furlong were able to bring her body home to Wexford yesterday.
After being flown into Dublin Airport with her coffin draped in a Tricolour at about noon, her body was transferred into a pink coffin at a Gorey funeral home before being driven on to her home town of Curracloe.
The roadway leading to the family home was lined with mourners as the hearse passed with a Garda escort.
Her heartbroken family were consoled by neighbours and friends as the coffin was then carried from the hearse into her home ahead of being waked. It was met by local curate Fr Jim Fitzpatrick.
Nicola’s uncle, Denis Corrigan, said the coffin was draped in the Tricolour to signify her return to Ireland.
“The family is in total shock, for on seeing the coffin the significance of what has happened has really hit home. We’ve had wonderful support from everyone which we so much appreciated. It’s been a difficult week and will be even more difficult over the coming days. We’re glad to have Nicola home with us.”
What should have been an exciting university adventure in Tokyo turned to tragedy when Nicola was found dead in a hotel in the early hours of May 24. She had attended a Nicki Minaj concert that evening with a friend, who is also from Wexford and on a year-long study exchange at the Takasaki City University of Economics.
They missed the last train back to their college dormitory located about an hour from Tokyo. The pair met two American men, dancer James Blackston and an unnamed 19-year-old musician, who were staying at Keio Plaza Hotel where Nicola later died.
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 the 19-year-old nearby.
Both Americans have been charged with sexual offences against the other Wexford woman and are being questioned about Nicola’s death.
Nicola’s family had been looking forward to welcoming her home from Japan at the end of July. She had a job lined up in Wexford town before returning to Dublin City University to begin her fourth year studying business and Japanese.
Nicola will be buried in Curracloe after Mass in the local church.
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