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Hawker suspect confesses to killing

The Japanese man accused of murdering British teacher Lindsay Hawker has written a book confessing to the killing - and has promised to donate the proceeds to her family.

The book, which is released today, was written by suspect Tatsuya Ichihashi while in prison awaiting trial.

It details how he spent two-and-a-half years on the run following the 22-year-old's murder in 2007, and how he underwent plastic surgery to change his appearance.

Ichihashi also apologises to Ms Hawker's family - claiming he wrote the book as "a gesture of contrition for the crime I committed" - but does not elaborate on the crime or his motives.

Ms Hawker was found dead in a sand-filled bathtub on the balcony of Ichihashi's apartment in Chiba, east of Tokyo, in March 2007. Ichihashi, 32, was one of her students at an English language school.

In a statement from his lawyers, Ichihashi said he hoped to give royalties from the book, titled Until the Arrest, to the Hawker family, and if rejected, use it for a good cause.

While at large, Ichihashi said he travelled through 23 prefectures (states) across Japan and became obsessed with cosmetic surgery due to fears of his arrest - even attempting procedures on himself with scissors. He also claimed to have embarked on a pilgrimage tour of temples on the south-western island of Shikoku, wishing Ms Hawker could "come back to life".

In the 238-page book released by publishing house Gentosha, he wrote: "I was so scared that I ran away. I ended up hurting not only the victim but also (the feelings of) many other people. I took Lindsay's life, that fact does not change."

He said he neither had courage to turn himself in or kill himself to take responsibility for Ms Hawker's death, and was finally arrested in Osaka on November 10, 2009, while waiting for a ferry to Okinawa. He has been in custody ever since.

In a statement to The Daily Telegraph, Kenichi Kinukawa, the lawyer for the Hawker family, said, "Regarding the publication of this book there is no comment from the bereaved family of Lindsay Hawker. What the family wants is justice for Lindsay in a Japanese trial."

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