'Twitter killer' sentenced to death for dismembering nine victims

Associated Press
·2-min read

A Japanese court has sentenced a man to death for killing and dismembering nine people, most of whom had posted suicidal thoughts on social media.

The Tachikawa branch of the Tokyo District Court found Takahiro Shiraishi, known as the "Twitter killer", guilty of killing, dismembering and storing the bodies of the victims in his flat in Zama, near Tokyo.

Shiraishi, 30, pleaded guilty and said he would not appeal his death sentence.

Police arrested Shiraishi in 2017 after finding the bodies of eight females and one male in cold-storage cases in his flat.

Investigators said Shiraishi approached the victims via Twitter, offering to assist them with their suicidal wishes.

A Japanese court has sentenced a man to death for killing and dismembering nine people who had posted suicidal thoughts on social media. Source: Kyodo News via AP/Getty Images
A Japanese court has sentenced a man to death for killing and dismembering nine people who had posted suicidal thoughts on social media. Source: Kyodo News via AP/Getty Images

He killed the women, including teenagers, after raping them, and also killed a boyfriend of one of the women to silence him, investigators said.

On Twitter, Shiraishi used the name "Hangman", promising to help his victims die and inviting them to his flat.

Although his defence lawyers argued he assisted the victims' suicidal wishes, Shiraishi later said he killed them without their consent.

In the ruling on Tuesday, presiding Judge Naokuni Yano said none of the victims agreed to be killed and Shiraishi was fully responsible for their deaths, according to media reports.

He said the crime was extremely heinous and had caused fear and concern in a society where social media had become an indispensable part of everyday life.

Readers seeking support and information about suicide prevention can contact Beyond Blue on 1300 22 4636, Lifeline on 13 11 14 or Suicide Call Back Service on 1300 659 467.

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