Bad guys rarely live up to their reputation, and so it was with James Blackston. Portrayed in the Irish media as a fearsome, muscle-bound rapper, in court he was a diminutive, baby-faced figure, his tattoos covered up by a cheap prison suit, mumbling his way through an incomprehensible defense for sexual assault.

A professional dancer known by his stage name "King Tight," Blackston, was unaware he was being filmed by a surveillance camera as he mauled an unconscious girl from behind in a Tokyo taxi on May 24 last year. His friend, a 19-year-old fellow American whom The Japan Times has decided not to name because he is a minor (but whose identity has been widely disseminated in the foreign media), sat in the front seat. The fourth passenger was 21-year-old Irish student Nicola Furlong, also unconscious. She had less than three hours to live.

The camera records what would become key prosecution evidence in the trials of both men, a conversation full of leering, predatory braggadocio. "These bitches fell into our lap," says one. "We can f—k them," says the younger one. "We gotta keep them f—ked up." Then Blackston: "We are going to f—k them and leave them in my room." At one stage the men exchange fist bumps.