In the summer of 2000, a young British woman named Lucie Blackman embarked on what was supposed to be an exciting gap year in Tokyo, Japan. Little did she know that her adventure would end in a tragedy that would shock the world. The story of her disappearance and the subsequent international investigation is the subject of the new Netflix documentary, Missing: The Lucie Blackman Case. This article delves into the true story behind the series, exploring the harrowing events that unfolded and the impact they had on Lucie’s family and the world at large.
Lucie, a former flight attendant for British Airways, moved to Tokyo with her friend Louise Phillips. She took up a job as a hostess at the Casablanca nightclub in Tokyo, a position that often involved going on paid dates with customers. It was on one of these dates, on July 1, 2000, that Lucie disappeared.
The Disappearance of Lucie Blackman
Lucie’s disappearance was as sudden as it was mysterious. After going on a date with a customer, Lucie made several calls to her friend Louise. However, following the date, Louise received a call from a stranger who claimed that Lucie had joined a cult and that she would never see or hear from her again. Alarmed, Louise immediately contacted Lucie’s family, who flew out to Tokyo in hopes of finding her.
The Blackman family launched a media campaign to find Lucie, with then-prime minister Tony Blair promising to raise the issue with his Japanese counterpart at a G8 summit. Despite these efforts, it took seven months for the police to find Lucie’s body, which was discovered buried in a cave near a beach 30 miles south of Tokyo.
The Investigation and Joji Obara
The investigation into Lucie’s disappearance led to the arrest of Korean-Japanese property developer Joji Obara in April 2001. Obara admitted to meeting Lucie but denied any involvement in her death. However, three women later came forward, all describing experiences of waking up in Obara’s bed with no recollection of the night before, raising suspicions about his involvement.
In October 2002, Obara was charged with drugging, raping, and killing Lucie. However, he was acquitted of these charges due to a lack of direct evidence. In 2007, Obara was jailed for life for raping nine other women, including Carita Ridgway, who died. Although he was not convicted for Lucie’s murder, the Tokyo High Court ruled in 2008 that Obara was guilty of abduction, dismemberment, and the disposal of Lucie’s body.
The Impact on Lucie’s Family
The loss of Lucie had a profound impact on her family. Her parents, Tim Blackman and Jane Steare, who were divorced before Lucie’s disappearance, were deeply affected by the tragedy. Tim, who features prominently in the Netflix documentary, flew to Tokyo to search for his daughter and launched a media campaign to find her.
The tragedy also had a significant impact on Lucie’s siblings, Sophie and Rupert. Tim revealed that Sophie had attempted suicide due to her immense grief, while Rupert had been “tortured and damaged” by the loss.
The Lucie Blackman Trust
In the wake of Lucie’s death, Tim Blackman set up the Lucie Blackman Trust, now known as LBT Global. The organisation aims to help families and individuals who go missing overseas and provides crisis support. Although the family stepped away from the trust in 2020, it continues to operate in Lucie’s honour.
Final Thoughts on Missing: The Lucie Blackman Case
The story of Lucie Blackman is a tragic tale of a young woman’s life cut short in a foreign land. The Netflix documentary, Missing: The Lucie Blackman Case, provides a detailed account of the events surrounding her disappearance and the subsequent investigation. It serves as a stark reminder of the dangers that can lurk in unfamiliar places and the enduring pain experienced by those left behind. As viewers, we can only hope that such tragedies serve as a wake-up call for improved safety measures for young people travelling abroad.
What do you make of this feature? Have you watched Missing: The Lucie Blackman Case on Netflix yet? If so, what did you think of it? Let us know your thoughts in the comments below.
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