Killer deformed his own face to get away with horrific murder of young Brit

When 22-year-old Lindsay Hawker was approached on the train by a young man who asked her to teach him English, she had no idea that hiding behind the innocent façade was an evil sadist.

Just four days after the pair agreed to meet for a lesson, the Brit's naked body was found sprawled in a bloody bathtub filled with soil and sand.

The young teacher, on a gap year in Tokyo, Japan, had been bound and gagged with plastic ties before being brutally raped in a frenzied attack.

Her skin was covered in bruises and she had been strangled before she died on March 24, 2007.

When she was found, her hair had been shaved off and her belongings were scattered across the room.

Cops quickly identified the killer as loner Tatsuya Ichihashi, 28, and nine officers surrounded the monster’s apartment whilst he was still inside.

When Ichihashi realised police were swarming his home he grabbed his rucksack and – before even putting shoes on – sprinted downstairs in a panic.

But what should have been an easy arrest for the cops soon turned to utter panic when the monster came running out of his door.

As the frenzied confusion unfolded, one officer grabbed Ichihashi’s rucksack – but he managed to flee from the apartment and was let loose in Tokyo.

He was then seen again as the chaotic manhunt continued – but evaded cops once more by zig-zagging through the street.

This would be the closest the evil murderer came to being arrested for over two years.

As the nation-wide hunt ensued, Ichihashi fled to an island in Okinawa and worked for 14 months at a construction company.

He endured grim cosmetic surgery and deformed his face to try and throw off any suspicions.

The vile procedure saw the bloodthirsty rapist increase the height of his nose, add a fold to his eyelids, thin his lips and remove moles on his cheek.

He had an obsession with physical fitness and violent Manga, a form of Japanese cartoon.

Rumours spread across the world that the only way the beast could have evaded capture for so long was with the help of others.

His parents – a dentist and a medical doctor – came under wrongful suspicion from some members of the public.

Desperate cops pleaded for anyone to come forward with information.

They released pictures of what Ichihashi could look like, even showing the public terrifying pictures of the killer disguised as a woman.

In a horrifying move, police printed out life-sized cardboard cut outs of Ichihashi to try and raise awareness.

10 million Japanese Yen (£66,700) was offered to anyone who gave information leading to his arrest.

Eventually, officers received useful leads from a cosmetic surgery, a construction company employee, and a ferry worker who recognised the killer.

They swarmed the area and finally, on November 10 2009, Ichihashi was captured in Osaka whilst trying to board a ferry to Okinawa.

For 31 months the evil beast had evaded any justice for brutally violating and taking the life of the young teacher.

Lindsay’s distraught family pushed for Ichihashi to be executed through Japan’s death penalty procedure.

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They were horrified when lawyers successfully argued he should be kept alive, based on the potential for him to reform.

On 21 July 2011, the Chiba District Court sentenced Ichihashi to life imprisonment for the murder of Lindsay Hawker.

A judge at the case, Masaya Hotta said he was disgusted at the “heinous crime”.

"The victim was raped, with her dignity violated and life taken away while going through unbearable pain. At the age of 22, her future was taken away," he added.

But Ichihashi’s devastating impact on the Hawker family didn’t stop there.

He went on to write a book detailing the horrific acts from his prison cell – before offering Hawker’s horrified mum and dad the royalty money, which they refused.

It sold over 100,000 copies and was a success in Britain – so much so, the story was made into a film 'I Am Ichihashi: Journal of a Murderer'.

Today, Ichihashi remains behind bars to serve out the rest of his sentence.

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