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The Urawa District Court handed down suspended sentences Thursday to three former policemen found guilty of falsifying a document to avoid a stalking case in which a woman was later killed.

Presiding Judge Masaru Suda sentenced former Inspector Toshio Katagiri, 49, and former Assistant Inspector Hirokazu Furuta, 54, to 18 months in prison, and former officer Tsuyoshi Honda, 40, to 14 months in prison, all suspended for three years.

Katagiri, who was chief of an investigation section at the Ageo Police Station, and the two others doctored a formal investigation request submitted by Shiori Ino, 21, in September 1999, according to the ruling.

Police officers are obliged to submit such requests to their superiors, but the three converted Ino’s request into another kind of document that is not required to be submitted to superiors, and took no action to launch any investigation, it said.

All three pleaded guilty to the charge, and prosecutors were demanding 18-month prison terms for each.

In her submission, Ino had asked the police to investigate a case in which her former boyfriend, Kazuhito Komatsu, had been stalking her. She said his friends had distributed handouts libeling her.

In October, Ino was stabbed to death on a street near JR Okegawa Station, and police subsequently arrested Komatsu’s brother and his three friends on suspicion of killing her. The four are currently standing trial. Komatsu, who was on the police wanted list, was found dead by a lake in Hokkaido in January.

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