Knife at­tacker grins be­fore cam­eras

The Myanmar Times - - World -

A JA­PANESE man who ad­mit­ted to mur­der­ing 19 peo­ple at a cen­tre for the men­tally dis­abled grinned to news cam­eras yes­ter­day be­fore be­ing ques­tioned over the coun­try’s worst killing spree in decades.

The 26-year-old re­port­edly said he wanted all dis­abled peo­ple to “dis­ap­pear” after the knife ram­page that left his vic­tims in pools of blood, in­clud­ing some who were stabbed in the neck.

With a blue jacket draped over his head, Satoshi Ue­matsu was es­corted out of a po­lice sta­tion into a wait­ing van be­fore a crowd of flash­ing news cam­eras.

In­side the ve­hi­cle with the jacket re­moved, he smiled broadly in footage broad­cast on morn­ing news shows.

An of­fi­cial at the Tsukui po­lice sta­tion where Mr Ue­matsu was held after the at­tack de­clined to com­ment on the in­ves­ti­ga­tion.

Mr Ue­matsu is ac­cused of break- ing into the Tsukui Ya­mayuri-en care cen­tre in the forested hills of Sagami­hara city, out­side of Tokyo, in the early hours of July 26.

He re­port­edly tied up two care­givers be­fore stab­bing res­i­dents, leav­ing a to­tal of 26 peo­ple in­jured, 13 of them se­verely.

He quickly turned him­self in at a po­lice sta­tion, car­ry­ing blood­ied knives and say­ing to of­fi­cers, “I did it”.

He re­port­edly also said, “The dis­abled should all dis­ap­pear.”

Se­cu­rity cam­era footage taken near the cen­tre showed a ve­hi­cle ar­riv­ing there shortly be­fore the at­tack be­gan early in the morn­ing.

The driver opened the boot to re­move ob­jects, be­fore walk­ing to­ward the fa­cil­ity.

At 2:50am, shortly after an emer­gency call was made to po­lice from the cen­tre, the footage shows the driver dash­ing back to the ve­hi­cle, car­ry­ing a large bag in his right hand.

Mr Ue­matsu left his job at the care home and was forcibly hos­pi­talised in Fe­bru­ary after telling col­leagues he in­tended to kill dis­abled peo­ple at the cen­tre.

But he was dis­charged 12 days later when a doc­tor deemed he was not a threat.

He had pre­vi­ously de­liv­ered a let­ter to the speaker of the lower house of par­lia­ment in which he threat­ened to kill hun­dreds of dis­abled peo­ple, out­lin­ing a broad plan for night-time at­tacks against Tsukui Ya­mayuri-en and an­other fa­cil­ity.

In the let­ter, he pre­sented a vi­sion of a so­ci­ety in which the se­ri­ously hand­i­capped could be eu­thanised with the ap­proval of fam­ily mem­bers since “hand­i­capped peo­ple only cre­ate un­hap­pi­ness”.

The Yomi­uri Shim­bun daily called the case “ap­palling”, and urged a probe into the de­ci­sion to re­lease Mr Ue­matsu from med­i­cal care. –

Photo: AFP

Po­lice of­fi­cers gather ev­i­dence at the Tsukui Ya­mayuri En care cen­tre where a knife-wield­ing man went on a ram­page.

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