The accused killer of a British bar hostess who was raped and murdered in 2000 defended himself in court Wednesday, citing a lack of evidence linking him to the crime and painting his alleged victim a mentally unstable drug-user.
Real estate developer Joji Obara has been on trial since December 2000 in the killing and dismemberment of Lucie Blackman, who was 21 when she disappeared after telling a friend she was going on a drive with a customer.
“The autopsy could not find the cause of her death and they could not find my DNA from the body, but they said I caused her death,” Obara said.
Obara, who is accused of giving Blackman a fatal drug overdose before raping her and dismembering her body, testified that his alleged victim suffered from mental illness and took drugs. Obara read portions of her diaries in court to make his case, noting she said she had smoked pot.
The defendant, who is suspected in nine other rapes, including another one that proved fatal, also attempted to cast doubt on prosecutors’ claims that they have traffic records that show his movements when he is accused of killing Blackman. He claimed prosecutors have refused to show him the records.
The former British Airways flight attendant’s disappearance in July 2000 triggered one of Japan’s highest-profile hunts in years. After seven months, her decomposed body was found in a cave near a beachside condo belonging to Obara, who earlier reports said bore traces of cement.
Three other rape allegations against Obara involve foreign women he met at Tokyo hostess clubs.
He allegedly invited Blackman to his condo, drugged her and sexually assaulted her after she fell unconscious. Her death is believed to have been caused by a drug overdose.
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