Japan's 'Twitter killer' allegedly killed 9 people with their consent
Tokyo, Oct 01: A 29-year-old Japanese man dubbed the 'Twitter killer' for luring his victims on social media admitted to murdering eight women and one man, according to the local media. However, his lawyers argued that his victims gave their consent to be killed as they had expressed suicidal thoughts.
Takahiro Shiraishi argued the charges should be reduced because the victims who had expressed suicidal thoughts gave their consent to be killed.
He is also accused of dismembering his victims and storing body parts in containers such as cooling boxes.
He is also facing rape charges, according to media reports.
Shiraishi is accused of using Twitter to contact victims aged between 15 and 26 who posted online about taking their own lives, telling them he could help them in their plans -- or even die alongside them.
If convicted of murder, Shiraishi faces the death penalty, which is carried out by hanging in Japan.
But his lawyers want the charges against him reduced to "murder with consent", which carries a prison sentence of between six months and seven years.
"There were bruises on the back of the victims' heads. It means there was no consent and I did it so that they wouldn't resist," he said in comments published on Wednesday.
Shiraishi was detained 3 years ago by police while investigating the disappearance of a 23-year-old woman who had reportedly tweeted about wanting to kill herself.
After she went missing, her brother gained access to her Twitter account, and noticed a suspicious handle.
Police found 9 dismembered bodies, with as many as 240 bone parts stashed in coolers and toolboxes, had been sprinkled with cat litter in a bid to hide the evidence in 2017.
Notably, Japan has the highest suicide rate among the Group of Seven industrialised nations, with more than 20,000 people taking their lives annually.