Japan ‘Twitter killer’ sentenced to death

Takahiro Shiraishi
Takahiro Shiraishi after his arrest in 2017

A man who murdered nine people after contacting them on Twitter has been sentenced to death, in a high-profile case that has shocked Japan, Takahiro Shiraishi, dubbed the “Twitter killer”, was arrested in 2017 after body parts were found in his flat.

He had pleaded guilty to the murders in October, saying the allegations against him were “all correct”. Almost all of his victims were young women, the case has triggered debate over how suicide is discussed online. The 30-year-old had used Twitter to lure suicidal women to his home, saying he could help them die and in some cases claimed he would kill himself alongside them. The serial killings first came to light on Halloween in 2017 when police found dismembered body parts in Shiraishi’s flat in the Japanese city of Zama, near Tokyo.

His lawyers had earlier argued that his charges should have been reduced, claiming his victims had given consent to be killed, Shiraishi however later disputed his own defence team’s version of events, and said he killed without their consent. On Tuesday, the judge who delivered the verdict said that “none of the victims agreed to be killed”. “The defendant was found to be fully responsible,” said Naokuni Yano, reported The Straits Times newspaper.

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