Le Anh Hao (R), father of murdered Vietnamese girl Le Thi Nhat Linh, and a lawyer at a press conference on the first day of the first-instance court on June 4 (Source: VNA)

Tokyo (VNA) – Japanese prosecutors have demanded a death penalty for Yasumasa Shibuya, a Japanese man who has been accused of murdering a 9-year-old Vietnamese girl in Chiba prefecture on March 24 last year.

On the final day of the first-instance trial on June 18, the prosecutors asserted that Shibuya, 47, committed a “cold-blooded, heinous and cruel” crime, and demanded the highest penalty for him.

However, defence lawyers continued affirming that the defendant is innocent and evidence is not strong enough to charge him.

The Chiba Court announced that it will issue a ruling on July 6, 2018.

Shibuya is accused of murdering Le Thi Nhat Linh, a third grader living in Matsudo town.

Linh disappeared shortly after leaving her home on foot for her school on March 24, 2017. Her body was found two days later in Abiko, Chiba. She is thought to have been choked to death, based on marks found on her neck.

Shibuya was arrested on April 14, 2017 on suspicion of dumping Linh’s body. The same day, Japanese police served a new arrest warrant on the man, charging the suspect with murder and abandonment of the victim’s body, after tests results showed that DNA taken from Shibuya matched those of samples found on the victim’s body.

Shibuya was head of the parents' association at the elementary school in Matsudo where the victim attended. He lives about 300 metres from the victim's home.-VNA