|View single post by Arnold_OldSchool|
|Posted: Sun Mar 10th, 2019 10:19 am||
Australian teenager Natasha Ryan, who disappeared four years ago and was presumed dead, resurfaced today - half way through the trial of her alleged murderer and to the astonishment of her grieving family.
Ms Ryan, now 18, was found yesterday hiding in a wardrobe at her 26-year-old boyfriend's home just half a mile from her mother's home in Rockhampton in the state of Queensland.
She was being questioned today by police who had earlier interviewed her boyfriend. It was not immediately clear whether charges would be filed.
Ms Ryan's dramatic reappearance coincided with the trial in a Queensland court of Leonard John Fraser, 51, who was charged with murdering her and three other women, whose bodies have been found. He is serving a life sentence for the rape and murder of a nine-year-old girl.
Prosecutors immediately dropped the charge against Fraser for Ms Ryan's murder, although the three other murder counts remain.
The case has been adjourned until Monday when Fraser's lawyers are expected to argue that they also be withdrawn and the entire trial abandoned. Fraser had pleaded innocent to all four murders.
Natasha Ryan disappeared when she was 14. Her family had been so certain she was dead, they held a memorial service for her a year ago.
A police spokesman said officers raided her boyfriend's house after a tipoff arising from Fraser's trial. Ms Ryan's father, Robert, confirmed his daughter's identity over the phone by asking her to tell him his pet name for her. She answered correctly.
Detectives questioned her boyfriend, Scott Black, last night before releasing him and referring the case to the Queensland director of public prosecutions.
Robert Ryan's second wife, Debbie Ryan, said her husband had been hit "pretty hard" by the shock of discovering his daughter was alive.
The family's lawyer, Ross Lo Monaco, said that when police phoned Ms Ryan's mother, Jenny Ryan, yesterday to tell her they had found Natasha, she at first assumed they were talking about a body.
Serial rapist Joji Obara was jailed for life in 2008 for drugging the former flight attendant then dismembering and disposing of her body.
He was not convicted of her murder because her remains were too decomposed to establish how she died.
Lucie was 21 when she went missing in July 2000 in Tokyo, where she had been working as a bar hostess in the city’s Roppongi district.
Her body was found seven months later in a seafront cave a few hundred yards from the home of Obara, a millionaire businessman who had an obsession with Western women.
Lucy had been cut into eight and her head was encased in concrete.
Obara was finally jailed in 2008, after being acquitted the year before.
But the fact he was not convicted of murder meant he was spared the death sentence and instead got a life term, which under Japanese law is said to be a minimum 20 years.
But taking into account the seven years he spent in custody during his long trial, he has been incarcerated for 18 years – so could put in an application for parole in less than two.
Police probing Lucie’s disappearance found 2,000 video tapes of Obara raping scores of women he drugged with Rohypnol. If they woke, he would use chloroform to subdue them.
As a result he was convicted of eight counts of rape, as well as his role in the death of Australian backpacker Carita Ridgway in 1992, who died from complications from chloroform. Tim, 65, is proud that Lucie became a “heroine” for Obara’s other victims.
May 4, 2000: Lucie Blackman, 21, from Sevenoaks, Kent, and her friend Louise Phillips, also 21, from Bromley, Kent, arrive in Tokyo on 90-day tourist visas.
July 1: Ms Blackman vanishes after phoning her friend to say she was going out with a customer she met in the Casablanca hostess club.
July 2: Miss Phillips receives a call from a man who says Ms Blackman has joined a religious cult and that she will not see her friend again.
July 4: Ms Blackman's younger sister, Sophie, flies to Japan to try to find her.
July 13: Tim Blackman holds a press conference in Tokyo. The disappearance makes headlines in Japan.
July 18: The Blackmans set up an investigative office in Tokyo, a confidential hotline and announce a £100,000 reward.
July 21: Prime Minister Tony Blair meets the Blackmans in Tokyo and promises to raise the matter with his Japanese counterpart at a G8 summit that day.
August 1: Tokyo police receive a letter from someone purporting to be Ms Blackman which says: "I am doing what I want so please leave me alone." Detectives and her father dismiss it as a fake.
September 20: Mr Blackman flies back to England after spending tens of thousands of pounds to find his daughter.
October 11: Police question property developer Joji Obara, 48, over Ms Blackman's disappearance as well as the drugging and raping of other women.
February 9, 2001: Police find body parts buried in a cave on a beach near Obara's seaside home close to Tokyo. The remains are later identified as those of Ms Blackman.
March 30: Ms Blackman's funeral takes place near the home of her mother, Jane Steare, in Kent.
April 6: Police arrest Obara in connection with Ms Blackman's death. He has been in police custody since October on charges of drugging and raping other women.
October 10, 2002: The businessman goes on trial in Tokyo charged with the abduction of Ms Blackman, rape resulting in death and the disposal of her body. He is also charged with killing Australian Carita Ridgway - another foreign hostess who died after allegedly being drugged and raped by him in 1992 - and with raping eight other women.
July 18, 2003: Conman Michael Hill, 60, is jailed for three-and-a-half years for tricking £15,000 out of Mr Blackman. Hill, 60, of Waterloo, central London, claimed he had contacts in the Japanese underworld who could help to trace her. He admitted deception.
November 27: Mr Blackman and Sophie come face to face with Obara for the first time at the Tokyo District Court.
March 23, 2005: The ashes of Ms Blackman are buried in Sevenoaks, Kent, more than four years after her body was found.
July 27: Ms Blackman's express their horror when Obara claims in court she smoked dope, was heavily in debt and was mentally ill.
April 25, 2006: Mr Blackman tells the Tokyo court that the death of Ms Blackman had made her grief-stricken sister attempt suicide.
April 21, 2007: Mr Blackman, now 53, and Sophie, now 26, fly out to Tokyo ahead of a verdict.
April 24: Obara is cleared of Ms Blackman's manslaughter but is sentenced to life imprisonment after he is convicted of eight rapes and one count over the rape and death of Ms Ridgway. Both the prosecution and defence appeal the decision to the Tokyo High Court.
December 16, 2008 - Obara is convicted of abducting and mutilating Ms Blackman's body. Original life prison term confirmed.