A Japanese man dubbed the ‘Twitter Killer’ admitted to killing nine people. Twenty-nine-year-old Takahiro Shiraishi is being accused of contacting people who posted online about killing themselves and telling them he could help them in their plans or even die alongside them. The court has accused Shiraishi not only of murder but dismembering victims and storing their parts in cool boxes.
The lawyers for Shiraishi argue that since his victims gave consent to be killed and had suicidal thoughts, his charges must be reduced. According to media reports, Shiraishi is also facing rape charges.
Shiraishi used Twitter to contact his victims aged 15-26, who harboured suicidal thoughts. If convicted of murder, Shiraishi faces death penalty, which is carried out by hanging in Japan. "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," Shiraishi said in an interview with Mainichi Shimbun daily.
He also said he "didn't plan on getting caught" and boasted of not being identified until his final killing. Shiraishi was detained three years ago by police while they were investigating the disappearance of a 23-year-old woman who had reportedly tweeted about wanting to kill herself. More than 600 people queued up for the public gallery seats to view the hearing.
The police uncovered nine dismembered bodies, with as many as 240 bone parts stashed in coolers and toolboxes behind Shiraishi's front door on the morning of Halloween in 2017. Eight of his victims were women, one was aged 15. His only male victim was aged 20. Japan has the highest suicide rate among the Group of Seven industrialised nations, with more than 20,000 people taking their lives annually.