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Denies murdering Wexford woman

By Sean Lehane

An American man accused of murdering a County Wexford woman in Japan last year has said he had no reason to kill her. Nicola Furlong was found dead in the Keio Plaza hotel in Tokyo's Shinjuku district on May 24, 2012.

The trial in Tokyo began on Monday. Richard Hinds, aged 20 and originally from Memphis, denies murder.

He told the court he did "lightly press" Ms. Furlong's neck but he did not believe he was the cause of her death.

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Two witness statements were read out from bar workers at the nightclub where Nicola and her friend went with Hinds and his friend, American James Blackston, after a concert in the city.

The four had ordered three tequila shots as well as a round of vodka and

Red Bull. Security footage from the taxi the four took to the Keio Plaza Hotel was also played in court, however only the Furlong family could see the footage.

During the journey to the hotel the two men spoke about having sex with

the young women. Both women seemed to be unconscious in the taxi.

Night manager at the hotel, Takuya Niwano, told the court how he helped put the girls into wheelchairs when one of them collapsed in front of the

lifts. He later described going to Room 1427 following a complaint about noise.

He went inside to find Blackston and Hinds in the room with Furlong collapsed on the floor. He attempted CPR and called for an ambulance.

Blackston, has been accused of sexually assaulting Furlong's friend. The verdict in his case is expected be delivered this week.