Student’s body due home as two men charged over her death

Student Nicola Furlong’s body will be flown home from Japan tonight, arriving tomorrow morning at Dublin Airport.

Members of her heartbroken family will travel to Dublin to accompany Ms Furlong home to Curracloe, Co Wexford. She is due to be laid to rest over the bank holiday weekend.

Tokyo police have charged two American men in connection with her death last week in a luxury hotel in the city.

An autopsy report has indicated she suffered strangulation and was sexually assaulted.

Rapper James Blackston aged 23 and another 19-year-old American have been charged with quasi-forcible indecency on Ms Furlong’s friend, who is also from Co Wexford and aged 21.

Ms Furlong arrived in Tokyo with her friend to attend a concert by rapper Nicki Minaj on Wednesday last.

She had travelled the one-hour journey from Takasaki City University of Economics, where she was studying on a one-year exchange course from DCU.

Police believe the men approached the women after the show and invited them to dinner. The girls had missed the last train back to their college dormitory and took them up on the offer.

Japanese newspapers have reported witnesses seeing the women being pushed into a taxi in central Tokyo on Wednesday night. Police are investigating the possibility the women were drugged before the assault at the luxury Keio Plaza Hotel.

Ms Furlong stayed in the same room as the 19-year-old man, while her friend stayed in a separate room with the 23-year-old.

At around 3.20am, a hotel staff member found Ms Furlong lying on the floor of a bedroom, with a 19-year-old man standing nearby.

Ms Furlong’s father Andrew said he experienced “every parent’s worst nightmare” on Thursday when gardaí called to tell him his daughter had died.

He said the last time he spoke to his daughter was the day before the concert.

“She had really been looking forward to seeing it. She said it was a small concert with only 2,000 people and that she was hoping to get into the after party to meet her [Minaj].”

Her devastated boyfriend, Wexford Youths centre-forward, Danny Furlong, pulled out of his club’s Ford FAI Cup clash with Douglas FC on Sunday last when he learned of the death.

Ms Furlong’s friend remains in Japan as she is a key witness in the investigation. She is being comforted by her mother.


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