Nicola Furlong Cause of Death: Strangulation
So it appears that Black Tokyo (BT) was correct in its hypothesis that date rape drugs WERE NOT used by the two Americans currently on trial in the death of Nicola Furlong and sexual assault of Ms. Furlong’s friend. DNA tests revealed that there was no evidence that sexual intercourse had taken place. As noted by BT regarding the Lidocaine and Xanax found in Ms. Furlong’s bloodstream:
LIDOCAINE: “Did Ms. Furlong have a skin disorder, a tattoo, dental or a minor surgery performed prior to her arrival in Tokyo? Did the accused have a disorder that required him to have Lidocaine prescribed? I wonder if the prosecutors or defense even checked these angles. Hopefully so, it seems that it would be a little easier to establish and eliminate how the Lidocaine entered Ms. Furlong’s system. Again, Black Tokyo believes the drug entered Ms. Furlong’s system via a emergency room cocktail to revive her.
– THE MOST PROBABLE REASON: “As a component of a GI cocktail used in emergency rooms.””
XANAX (ALPRAZOLAM): “Alprazolam may also be used in conjunction with other depressant drugs, such as alcohol, marijuana, heroin or other opiates, in an attempt to enhance the psychological effect of these drugs, according to Wikipedia. “The poly-drug use of powerful depressant drugs poses the highest level of health concerns due to a significant increase in the likelihood of experiencing an overdose which may result in fatal respiratory depression.”
In examining the prescription drug Xanax or Alprazolam as a date rape drug: “Alprazolam is practically not soluble in water, when crushed in water it will not fully dissolve (40 µg/ml of H2O at pH 7). There have also been anecdotal reports of alprazolam being snorted.”
So the women consumed tequila shots and possibly vodka and Red Bull. Since ground or powdered Xanax is bitter and there is nothing reportedly consumed to mask the bitter taste of the drug, especially if it is placed in tequila or vodka, is it possible that the drug(s) were ingested another way?
RTE News Ireland reports:
“Dr Kenta Aida said the drug lidocaine had been used in her treatment. A breathing device inserted into her throat was coated in the drug, which he said explained the traces of lidocaine found in Ms Furlong’s blood. He also said injection marks on her body came from attempts at the hospital to draw blood samples. The court heard that Ms Furlong had been prescribed Xanax by her doctor in Ireland for anxiety. Traces of this drug were also found in her blood.”
The Independent.ie reported:
In regards to the LIDOCAINE: ” Dr Aida explained that the presence of Lidocaine was due to a gel he put on the tube that he inserted into Ms Furlong’s respiratory tract in a failed attempt to induce breathing.”
In regards to the XANEX: “In the afternoon, the court heard that the level of Xanax in her blood was low and that Ms Furlong had been prescribed the drug, which acts as a hypnotic, in Ireland for her anxiety about going to study in Japan.”
The cause of death reported during the trial is as follows:
“A court in Tokyo has been told that Wexford woman Nicola Furlong, who was found dead in a hotel room in Japan last year, died of strangulation. Evidence was given by the Professor of Forensic Medicine who performed the post mortem examination on Ms Furlong’s body. He categorically rejected suggestions by the defence that the presence of alcohol in Ms Furlong’s blood may have played a contributory part in her death.”
As reported by the Irish Times:
During testy questioning from defence lawyers, Dr Yoshida dismissed alternative theories about Ms Furlong’s death. “There are very clear findings of strong pressure being put on the victim’s neck. That makes her consumption of alcohol irrelevant.”
The Irish Examiner reported:
“Forensic medicine expert Dr Yoshida, a veteran of 2,200 autopsies over a 34-year career, also gave his analysis of a number of discolourations, haemorrhages and abrasions that were found on Ms Furlong’s body during autopsy, which took place on May 25.
The most notable of these were a 5cm-wide white impression around her neck and evidence of haemorrhaging on her eyelids, eyeballs, face and scalp.
The impression on the neck was likely to have been caused by pressure made by something such as a belt-like object with a soft surface, while the haemorrhaging was the result of a significant struggle to breath, Dr Yoshida said.
Asked if items such as a towel or tank-top found in Hinds’ hotel room could have been used as such a weapon, Dr Yoshida said they could.
“It could have taken a few minutes between the time of strangulation and death,” Dr Yoshida said, adding that Ms Furlong had “almost certainly been in distress for some minutes”. It was also suggested that some scratch-like marks on the front of her neck may have been made by her fingers as she attempted to pull the object away from her neck.”
Black Tokyo initially questioned whether the cause of death was due to cervical compression:
Upon further research, in my quest to understand the cause of Ms. Furlong’s death, suffocation by cervical compression, I discovered the following online:
“The 2nd cervical vertebra is above the level of the respiratory control center in the brainstem. Thus, a neck fracture which results in sufficient damage to the portion of the brainstem (or above) which controls respiration, death will occur (unless artificial ventilatory support is put in place in a timely fashion).”
“A spinal cord injury that occurs at C1, C2 or C3- those are the first three cervical vertebrae- will interfere with breathing and heart rate because the nerve which controls the diaphram is paralyzed. That means you can’t breathe on your own.”
“The respiratory system of a person suffering a spinal cord injury may be impaired due to paralysis of the chest muscles, abdominal muscles or diaphragm. The degree of impairment will vary depending on the level of spinal cord injury.
It was reported that “the defendant told the court yesterday he did “lightly press” Ms Furlong’s neck, but he did not believe he was the cause of her death.”
According to the Independent.ie, the doctor testified that:
““She didn’t die quickly, it took minutes and she died in great distress,” said Dr Kenichi Yoshida, who carried out the autopsy on the body of the 21-year-old Wexford student. He also said that Ms Furlong would have fought back, pointing to autopsy photographs of “scratch marks and abrasions that could have been caused by the victim herself when she was struggling to resist strangulation by the assailant.”
He ruled out any other cause of death, adding, “she didn’t just die, she was killed,” he said. Dr Yoshida also said that a soft object such as a rolled-up towel or item of clothing was likely used to kill the 21-year-old student from Wexford.”
Additionally the doctor also reported that:
“Ms Furlong’s DNA was found on a towel and a tank top in Mr Hinds’ room in Tokyo’s Keio Plaza hotel where Ms Furlong was killed. Dr Yoshida said that the autopsy showed internal bleeding in several places and that there was a 5cm wide mark going around her neck where she was choked.”
The Irish Examiner reported:
“The doctor who carried out an autopsy on the body of Irishwoman Nicola Furlong in Tokyo has said she was conscious and had fought back while she was being strangled.”
Wikipedia describes strangulation as such:
Strangling can be divided into three general types according to the mechanism used:
Hanging—Suspension from a cord wound around the neck
Ligature strangulation—Strangulation without suspension using some form of cord-like object called a garrote
Manual strangulation—Strangulation using the fingers or other extremity
Strangling involves one or several mechanisms that interfere with the normal flow of oxygen into the brain:
Compression of the carotid arteries or jugular veins—causing cerebral ischemia.
Compression of the laryngopharynx, larynx, or trachea—causing asphyxia.
Stimulation of the carotid sinus reflex—causing bradycardia, hypotension, or both.
The defense team seemingly had difficulty with the witness:
“His (the defendant) defence team questioned Dr Yoshida repeatedly about whether a mix of drugs and alcohol could have caused Ms Furlong’s death. But the forensics expert said that if drugs had been the cause her respiratory system would have shut down and this didn’t happen.
“As I explained, if it was the effect of drugs it would have affected the respiratory system but I didn’t see any evidence to this effect,” he said.
At one point Dr Yoshida refused to answer questions from some of his Mr Hinds’ defence lawyers, saying that he was “answering the same meaningless questions again and again.”
If the accused is convicted, he faces three possible sentences:
1. a fixed prison term of at least five years
2. a life sentence
3. the death penalty
The second American man, James Blackston (ジェイムス・ブラックストン) (23), also known as “King Tight” from Los Angeles, has not been charged as a suspect in Nicola Furlong’s death but is currently held relating to a separate assault charge of “Quasi-Forcible Indecency” on Nicola’s 23-year-old friend that accompanied her to Tokyo to attend a Nicki Minaj concert. In Japan, Quasi Forcible Indecency is defined as:
Quasi Forcible Indecency; Quasi Rape: Article 178
(1) A person who commits an indecent act upon a male or female by taking advantage of loss of consciousness or inability to resist, or by causing a loss of consciousness or inability to resist, shall be punished in the same manner as prescribed for in Article 176.
(2) A person who commits sexual intercourse with a female by taking advantage of a loss of consciousness or inability to resist, or by causing a loss of consciousness or inability to resist, shall be punished in the same matter as prescribed in the preceding Article.
The case against the American accused of murder will run for two-weeks with the verdict to be delivered on 19 March. Mr. James Blackston, who has already been tried for assaulting Ms. Nicola Furlong’s friend, will be sentenced on March 13, 2013. The prosecution is seeking five-years for Mr. Blackston. However, in a recent groping incident, an American sailor that groped two Japanese women (whose assault may not fall under Article 178) was fined 300,000 yen ($3,209) by a Yokosuka court on Feb. 19, though he was never formally arrested by police. Mr. Blackston faces a maximum of four years on charges of sexually assaulting Furlong’s friend in a separate room. Both men were charged with Article 178, “Quasi Forcible Indecency or Quasi Rape” of Ms. Furlong’s “intoxicated” friend while the group were in a taxi. Ms. Furlong’s friend has previously stated that she has trouble recalling much of the events of the night. It was also reported that, “She probably witnessed (much of what happened) but she can’t remember it for some reason.” As reported by an anonymous source, “The other girl (Ms. Furlong’s friend) knew where she was just really “out of it.”. (For more information on the possible cause of death, charges and punishment click here.)
The following BT’ers contributed to BT’s reporting of the Nicola Furlong death investigation: @blacktokyo, @onmugen @starrwulfe @ogPegasus303
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