I blacked out after two tequila shots, Nicola’s pal tells murder trial
NIALL O’CONNOR – 06 MARCH 2013 10:40 AM
MURDERED Nicola Furlong’s best friend today told how she blacked out after taking two shots of tequila.
She described her best friend as an “amazing person with such a bright future, that she can’t have any more”.
The Irish woman, who was not named, said that she and Nicola had “strongly” refused to spend the night at the hotel of murder accused Richard Hinds.
Speaking via audio link, the woman said that she lost consciousness while drinking with two American men who approached them following a concert.
Hinds (19) is accused of murdering Nicola in a hotel room on May 24, while James Blackston (23) is facing separate assault charges relating to Nicola’s best friend.
On day three of the murder trial, the unidentified witness recounted the night she and Nicola met the two men following a Nicki Minaj concert.
She was rigorously questioned by the defence on the amount of drink the pair had consumed on the night in question. She said they each drank about 750ml of a cocktail that was two-thirds orange juice and one-third vodka.
She also said that they had drunk a cassis liqueur and soda at the concert and later consumed two tequilas in a bar in the nightclub area of Shibuya that she had gone to with Nicola, Hinds and Blackston.
“All I remember is having the second shot and after that I don’t remember anything,” she said. In an emotional testimony, the witness said it was completely out of character for either women to black out.
“I’ve never experienced unconsciousness when drinking. And I’ve never seen Nicola lose consciousness,” she told the court.
And she contradicted a statement given by the accused that it was the women who approached the men outside train station in Tokyo.
“The men said we could stay at their hotel,” she said. “We strongly said ‘no’. We have boyfriends and we didn’t want to stay with them.”
Asked why they still accompanied the men to the nightclub, she said: “They were so friendly it didn’t feel dangerous at all. We were going to a public place. We had no intention of hanging around with these two men.”
The line of questioning of day three of the murder trial represented the defence’s attempt to paint a picture of heavy drinking on the night Nicola died.
However blood test results revealed that the alcohol level in Ms Furlong’s blood was 2.14mg of alcohol per 1ml of blood – a level characterised by forensic expert Dr Kenichi Yoshida,
He told the court yesterday that “in this case it is very clear the cause of death was due to strangulation.”
Meanwhile, Ms Furlong’s best friend hit out at the accused.
She said she had come to the trial to “defend” Ms Furlong, a DCU student from Curracloe in Co Wexford.
“She’s not here and can’t speak for herself. I have to come and get justice for what happened.”
The witness repeatedly broke down when asked by the court to describe her best friend.
“I feel so angry that he [Hinds] took her away from me and her family. She was the most kind, gentle and generous person I’ve ever met.”
Hinds, whose family were in court for the first time today, looked down at the floor while the witness was given evidence.
At one point, he looked up and smiled at family members in the gallery.
The case continues.