Tokyo court hands death sentence to 'Twitter killer'

A man has been sentenced to death in Japan for the murders of nine people in 2017, ending a case that grabbed local headlines as the 'Twitter killer.'

30-year-old Takahiro Shiraishi was found guilty of murdering, dismembering and storing the bodies of the victims in his apartment outside Tokyo.

According to the Jiji news agency, the prosecution said Shiraishi first contacted the nine on Twitter after they expressed suicidal thoughts.

The agency also says he used a handle that loosely translates to 'hangman' and that Shiraishi invited them to his home promising to help them die.

Kyodo news reported that his defense lawyers argued he killed the victims with their approval.

The judge ruled the victims did not consent to being killed, and that Shiraishi was mentally fit to be held responsible for their murders.

One juror spoke to media on Wednesday.

"When I listened his testimony, it made me imagine the killings he committed inside my head. Sometimes I remembered the savage ways he committed the murders at night so it was a bit of a burden on me."

According to Japanese media, Shiraishi said before the trial that even if he was handed the death penalty he would not appeal.

In Japan the death penalty is carried out by hanging, with execution dates not made public until after it happens.