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OUR NIGHTMARE IS FINALLY OVER; Lindsay dad's tears as bath murder suspect is held after years on run.

Byline: GREIG BOX TURNBULL

THE father of murdered British teacher Lindsay Hawker wept yesterday as Japanese police finally caught her suspected killer after nearly three years on the run.

Bill Hawker said his family's agonising wait for justice was over after officers swooped on fugitive Tatsuya Ichihashi, 30, while he waited to board a ferry.

He's the only suspect in 22-yearold Lindsay's killing after her battered body was found in a bath full of sand on his balcony.

Her emotional dad Bill said: "I am so happy. All we want to do is see this man in court.

"I will go to Japan as soon as I am required to. I want to look Ichihashi in the eyes myself. I am so glad I can go down to my daughter's grave later and tell her. He ran away from the crime scene and was running away when he was caught.

"I hope the authorities deal with him in the appropriate manner. My nightmare is finally over."

Lindsay had been teaching English in Japan before her naked body was found in a bathtub in Tokyo in March 2007. Her neck was broken, her hair shaved and she had severe bruising on her arms, legs and face.

Ichihashi, an unemployed barman, is suspected of luring Lindsay to his flat for a private English lesson before killing her.

His arrest comes just days after police released images of what they believe he now looked like after plastic surgery. He had eyelid surgery, cheek implants and lip thinning treatment in an attempt to evade police officers pursuing him.

Detectives had been getting close to arresting Ichihashi for a while.

They eventually found his alias and where he had been hiding for the past month. It is believed he had been working as a builder when they arrested him in Osaka, Okinawa.

Lindsay's parents Bill and Julia, of Brandon, near Coventry, have made several trips to Japan to appear on TV police appeals. On Monday they urged Ichihashi to hand himself in - something his own mum had also done.

The Hawkers had previously slammed police for failing to catch Lindsay's killer.

Mr Hawker added: "After a bungled start, they have got their man. Their chief officer told me they would get the man sooner or later."

Lindsay's sister, Lisa, 26, added: "We've never given up, not from day one. All the sleepless nights, all the not eating, all the crying, all the tears."

The Foreign Office said: "We are grateful to the Japanese police."

CAPTION(S):

SWOOP Plastic surgery altered Ichihashi after arrest in Tokyo yesterday and, inset, before op MURDERED Teacher Lindsay died in Japan ORDEAL Lindsay's dad Bill weeps after hearing news of the arrest
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Publication:The Mirror (London, England)
Geographic Code:9JAPA
Date:Nov 11, 2009
Words:452
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