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Japanese court sentences ‘Twitter killer’ to death

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A Japanese court has sentenced to death, a man who killed nine people after communicating with them on the social networking site Twitter, in an exciting case that shocked Japanese society.

Takahiro Shiraishi, nicknamed the “Twitter Killer,” was arrested in 2017 after body parts were found in his apartment.

The accused confessed to the murders last October, saying that the charges against him were “all true,” and nearly all of his victims were young women.

The 30-year-old man used Twitter to lure women who are contemplating suicide into his home, saying that it could help them commit suicide, and in some cases, he claimed that he would kill himself next to them.

The serial killings were first discovered on Halloween in 2017, when police found torn body parts in Shirachi’s apartment in Zama’s Japanese city, near Tokyo.

His lawyers had previously protested that the charges against him should be reduced, claiming that his victims agreed to the killing.

But Shiraishi later disputed his defense team’s version of events, saying he was killed without their consent.

“None of the victims consented to the killing,” said Judge Naokuni Yano, who issued the verdict on Tuesday.

The Straits Times newspaper quoted the judge as saying, “It turns out that the defendant is fully responsible.”

Eight of his victims were women, one of whom was 15 years old.

Japanese media said the only man among the victims was a 20-year-old and was killed after confronting Shiraishi about his girlfriend’s whereabouts.

What are the echoes of the murders?

The murders shocked the Japanese street. When it was revealed in 2017, it sparked a new discussion on suicide websites.

The government indicated at the time that it might introduce new laws.

The killings caused Twitter to change its rules, making changes to them so that “users do not promote or encourage suicide or self-harm.”

Twitter chief executive Jack Dorsey said at the time that the case was “extremely distressing.”

Japan suffers from one of the highest suicide rates in industrialized nations, although the numbers have plummeted since preventive measures were introduced more than a decade ago.

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