Funeral held for cram-school victim

Kyodo

Funeral services were held Tuesday in Uji, Kyoto Prefecture, for Sayano Horimoto, the 12-year-old girl slain by her cram school teacher, as her relatives and classmates expressed sadness and helplessness over the tragedy.

Her father, Tsunehide, 42, told some 300 attendants, “On that morning, she left home just as usual, telling me that she would come back by lunchtime. I still can’t believe it.”

Yu Hagino, a part-time cram school teacher and Doshisha University student majoring in criminology, was arrested over Saturday’s fatal stabbing at the Ujishinmei branch of the Kyoshin cram school chain.

Hagino told investigators he had bought two kitchen knives and a hammer earlier this month with the intent to use them to kill.

Kyoshin President Sadaaki Tachiki told reporters after the funeral, “I offered my sincere apology (to the victim).”

Doshisha University President Eiji Hatta said at the funeral: “When I think of the feelings of her relatives, I don’t know what to say. . . . The university is also deeply saddened.”

Denial of intent to kill

HIROSHIMA (Kyodo) A 33-year-old Peruvian man arrested in the murder of a 7-year-old girl last month in Hiroshima denied Tuesday that he had intended to kill her.

Jose Manuel Torres Yake told the Hiroshima Summary Court during proceedings on his detention that he “had no intention whatsoever to kill or to injure” Airi Kinoshita.

Judge Toshio Watanabe said Torres Yake needs to be detained due to the nature of the crime and to concerns that he may otherwise destroy evidence or attempt to run away.

Torres Yake, who had initially denied all allegations when arrested Nov. 30, admitted a day later to killing the girl but said he was confused at the time and could not recall any details.

Police believe he strangled Kinoshita, who was on her way home from school, either in his apartment or nearby and then sealed her corpse in a cardboard carton that he left in a vacant lot. They suspect the slaying took place between 12:35 p.m. and 2:35 p.m. Nov. 22.