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Japanese man who killed British teacher Lindsay Ann Hawker appeals sentence

Tatsuya Ichihashi is appealing a life sentence for raping and murdering 22-year-old Lindsay Ann Hawker in 2007, and then burying her body in a bathtub of sand

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Lindsay Ann Hawker was discovered dead in a bath of sand at a block of flats in Ichikawa in Japan in March 2007. She had been working as an English teacher. (Warwickshire Police/AFP/Getty Images)

The Japanese man convicted of raping and killing the 22-year-old British teacher Lindsay Ann Hawker in 2007 has launched an appeal against his life sentence in Tokyo's High Court.

Tatsuya Ichihashi, 33, has admitted to raping his victim but claims he killed her accidentally while covering her mouth to stop her screaming,  AFP says

His lawyer has reportedly insisted that the life sentence handed down in July 2011 is too harsh, because the death was not intentional.

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The Japan Times says Ichihashi is aiming to correct factual errors presented in the district court trial, and to lighten the sentence to 20 to 30 years in prison.

Lindsay Ann Hawker's body was found naked and bound in a sand-filled bathtub on the balcony of Ichihashi's apartment in Ichikawa, Chiba prefecture, east of the capital, in March 2007.

A profile by the BBC explains that she had been working as an English teacher.

Ichihashi spent more than two-and-a-half years on the run following the crime and had plastic surgery to disguise his appearance.  He was eventually arrested in 2009.

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Lindsay Ann Hawker's family did not travel to Japan for the appeal.

“We do not think he is sorry for what he has done; we think he is only sorry that he got caught,” her mother Julia Hawker told The Daily Telegraph.

"We would feel a lot better if he just went and served his sentence," she added. "He needs to appreciate what he has done and pay for it."

The high court will announce its ruling on April 11.

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http://www.globalpost.com/dispatch/news/regions/asia-pacific/japan/120315/japanese-man-who-killed-british-teacher-lindsay-ann-