Japan teen suspect in classmate's murder 'had no grudge with victim'

Japan teen suspect in classmate's murder 'had no grudge with victim'

SASEBO, Japan - The 16-year-old girl arrested on suspicion of killing a 15-year-old classmate admits to committing the murder but said she had no grudge against the victim or any friction with her, according to her lawyer.

The lawyer said Thursday night that the girl told him: "I didn't have any grudge against her or trouble with her. We were good friends and she didn't do anything wrong."

Though the suspect's father remarried this year after her mother died in October 2013, the girl told the lawyer that she never opposed the marriage or talked to friends about how she felt about it.

"I respect my father," the lawyer quoted her as saying. "I was happy to have a new mother because I felt lonely after my mother died."

The girl's father told a lawyer representing the bereaved family of the victim that he wanted to visit them to apologise, but he has not done so yet.

Doctor's warning ignored

A centre run by the Nagasaki prefectural government in Sasebo took no action even though a psychiatrist treating the 16-year-old suspect warned it about a month and half before the murder that she might kill someone.

The psychiatrist called the centre, which deals with issues related to children, women and the disabled, and reported her alarming behaviour on June 10. However, the centre did not share this information with other relevant organisations, such as the prefectural government, the prefectural board of education or the prefectural police until the girl was arrested Sunday for allegedly killing her high school classmate.

The centre was established by consolidating three sections of the prefectural government dealing with welfare of children and the physically and mentally challenged.

"We accept the blame for neglecting the report," an official of the prefectural government said. They will investigate why it happened, he added.

According to the prefectural government, the girl's psychiatrist called the centre, identified himself and said he wanted to discuss the case of a first-year high school student, though he did not reveal her name. The doctor told the centre that the girl had dissected a cat, hit her father with a metal baseball bat and laced the school meals of her classmates with chemicals.

"If nothing is done," the doctor was quoted as saying, "she might kill someone."

"We gave the caller advice," an official of the centre said. "We did everything we could."

However, experts question why the centre did not try to identify the girl or share the information with other relevant organisations, even though the psychiatrist described in detail how serious her condition was.

The centre said it would study how to share such information with a wider range of prefectural organisations.

'Dog leash used'

According to investigative sources, the girl said she strangled her classmate with a dog leash. Prefectural police are investigating whether a leash they found at her apartment, where she lived alone, was in fact used in the killing.

In the apartment, where the girl allegedly killed her classmate, police also found a hammer, a saw, a kitchen knife believed to have been used in the murder and clothes belonging to the suspect that were soaked with blood.

The girl also said she killed her classmate because she wanted to see the inside of a human body, her lawyer told the press on Friday.

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