CRIME MAY HAVE BEEN PREMEDITATED

Teacher telephoned father to say he killed girl

Kyodo

Yu Hagino, a part-time cram school teacher arrested in the fatal stabbing of a 12-year-old girl at the school in Uji, Kyoto Prefecture, phoned his father shortly after the slaying to inform him of his crime, police sources alleged Monday.

Police sources said earlier that the 23-year-old Doshisha University law student had called only police after the slaying, which took place Saturday at the Ujishinmei branch of the Kyoshin cram school chain.

The victim, sixth-grader Sayano Horimoto, died after being stabbed in the neck and face, a police autopsy showed. Police earlier quoted Hagino as telling investigators he did not get along with the girl and lost his temper after she allegedly told him to go away.

On Dec. 2, Hagino bought two kitchen knives at a hardware store and later, a hammer, which suggests the murder may have been premeditated, the police sources said.

“I bought kitchen knives one week ago to kill” the girl, Hagino, who is specializing in criminology, was quoted as telling police.

Police confiscated the 29-cm knife, a similar kitchen knife and a hammer, all of which he brought to the school Saturday.

Kyoto police turned Hagino over to prosecutors Sunday.

Hagino was also quoted by police as saying, “I thought I would be free from agony if Sayano disappeared.”

The cram school was scheduled to hold an examination on Japanese for 13 students from 9 a.m. to noon Saturday, skipping regular classes. But Hagino separated Horimoto from the other 12 students, telling them he would conduct a questionnaire over his Japanese class, and ordered the others to go to another classroom, investigative sources said.

After they left, Hagino locked the classroom door and stabbed Horimoto in the face and neck with the knife, the sources said. When another teacher finally persuaded Hagino to unlock the door and come out, he was holding his cell phone and had blood on his hands, they said.

Horimoto was rushed to a hospital, where she was pronounced dead.

Kyoshin said Hagino was not scheduled to work Saturday and the questionnaire he mentioned also had not been scheduled.

The girl stopped taking Hagino’s Japanese class earlier this month after one of her parents asked the school to change her instructor. The school told Hagino last week — the time he said he bought the weapons — that he would not be supervising an exam set for Saturday, according to the school.

On Monday morning, many parents accompanied their children to Shinmei Elementary School, which Horimoto once attended.

“Let us pray for Sayano, who is in heaven now,” headmaster Osamu Fukuyama told a gathering of students.

Meanwhile, some people placed flowers outside the cram school.

A 23-year-old woman who said she was Hagino’s classmate in junior high school appeared at the scene with flowers, saying: “He was an invisible type of student. I am shocked.”