First of two parts

Wealthy property developer Joji Obara's sensational acquittal last month in the 2000 slaying of Lucie Blackman stunned her native Britain, but his life sentence for the serial rapes of nine other women and the 1992 death of Australian Carita Ridgway came as no surprise to Carita's loved ones, who feel that had police "properly investigated" Obara, she would have been his last victim.

Ridgway, however, was only linked to Obara after his October 2000 arrest, when several female victims reportedly came forward with their own accounts of blacking out for hours or days at the home of a wealthy man using several aliases but generally fitting Obara's description — evidence that would help build a case against Obara.