Could you accept blood money?

How could any father accept money from a friend of his daughter’s suspected killer? I thought at first that Tim Blackman was brilliant in travelling to Japan to highlight Lucie’s disappearance, visiting bars with her photo.

His relentless pursuit helped lead to the arrest and 6 1/2 year trial of millionaire playboy Joji Obara, who has just been cleared of Lucie Blackman’s murder due to lack of evidence. Gross police inefficiency and long delays meant that no forensic evidence could be pinned on Obara, who has been jailed for life for raping nine other women, including an Australian who also died. And why would he offer the money if he was innocent?

He could be released after only six years or so as the 1,600 days served during the trial will be deducted from the sentence, and lifers are eligible for parole after 10 years.

Lucie had been drugged, raped then dismembered, her long blonde hair cut off and her head encased in concrete. Her remains were found in a cave.

What I can’t understand is how Tim Blackman could have accepted £450,000 (100 million yen) blood money, or “condolence” money, as he calls it. The chances are that it came directly from Obara and he used his friend as a go-between. By accepting the money, it meant that Obara stood less chance of being hanged or receiving a full life sentence had he been convicted, it meant that justice would not be served.

Only Tim Blackman knows why he compromised himself in accepting this money. His former wife Jane, who refused an offer of the same money herself — despite what she describes as a “campaign” by the defence team to get her to accept it — accused him of behaving worse than Judas:

“As far as I am concerned, Tim accepted 100 million pieces of silver. Judas was content with just 30. It’s bad enough losing your daughter in the terrible circumstances that Lucie died. But to then find out that her father seems to have colluded with the defence team has been emotionally crippling.?


  1. steve miles

    Ellee, you don’t know all the details and you are far too quick to condemn. Lucie’s younger siblings have both had breakdowns and not finished their education, almost certainly as a result of what Obara did to Lucie. Tim is only trying to provide for his kids because they won’t be able to provide for themselves.

  2. Courtney, yes, I do have very strong maternal feelings, thank you for your honesty.

  3. Yes, it’s a bit ordinary, this one.

  4. It is not unusal in japanese culture for perpetrators to offer money to their victims. The perpetrator’s apology carries quite a bit of weight. If that apology is backed up with cash- so much the better in the eyes of the japanese justices.

    The troubling aspect here is: how can there be an apology AND a “not guilty” plea.

    Especially in a country where about 99% of criminal cases that make it to court result in a conviction.

    Something stinks.

  5. Sorry – forgot to answer the question. I’m going to be really unpopular now.

    Yes – I think I would except blood money (as you call it Ellee) if I were really being honest.

  6. I’m very much in agreement with Welshcakes thoughts here, but I can also understand why Ellee has such strong feelings on this matter being a loving mother herself.

    Who knows, it may have perversely been that very same strong parental feelings that led Tim Blackman to accept that (blood/condolence) money in the first place – he has indeed made an extremely difficult decision that only he will have to learn to live with.

  7. electro-kevin

    Though I’m sure one would undergo a catharsis in having the man ‘hit’ by using his own money. 🙂

  8. I suppose the question is, would you accept blood money if you were in the same positon and my answer would unequivocally be no, absolutely no way, however poverty stricken I was. I would rather do the most menial job to earn an honest pound than take money on behalf of the person who had killed my child to give the murderer a more lenient sentence.

  9. I don’t think any of us can possibly know what goes through the head of someone in that situation. Who knows why he took the money. Is it any of our business?

    However here are several possible alternatives:
    1) Greed
    2) To upset his ex-wife
    3) To help to fund the months he spent in Japan persuading the Japanese police to bring this man to justice
    4) To donate to charity
    5) To give to his family
    6) To establish a foundation in Lucie’s name

    I suspect 3) is the right answer, but I don’t think any of us can know enough to get on our high horses

  10. hmmm, the relatives of the ‘victims’ of 9/11 receive one million dollar handouts.
    It cannot compensate for the loss of a loved one, it doesn’t bring your loved one back. Mind you neither can the death of the killer bring your loved one back.

    For no matter how much money one is willing to pay one cannot bring the dead back from the dead – but it is as old as ‘money’ that can can pay to cheat death everyday.

    After all isn’t that what science and medicine try to do everyday, and we never ask if they deserve to live – we simply ask – CAN THEY PAY.

  11. Steven_L

    If you have a young family and limited means I can see the logic in accepting blood money – you can provide your children with a good private education and put them through university.

    I’m led to believe this guy was well off with older children though.

  12. Bedd Gelert

    Ellee, You work in PR, so I think you already know the answer to that question…

  13. I don’t know, Ellee. I suppose the father could argue that he needed the money to keep campaigning and travelling there. It all seemed like a bit of a media circus to me. And the mother sounds still bitter towards him because of whatever their divorce was about. If the accused has got the maximum sentence for rape of the other women – though I agree it’s not long enough – then I suppose that is something.

  14. Philipa

    Ooh yeah, Marlon Brando

    Didn’t he used to be a contender?

    (sorry 🙂

  15. baby sitters and their absence have reduced me to a cuturally deprived inarticulate creature of sullen demeanour Ellee. Women seem to prefer me that way…its a bit Marlon Brando !!

  16. Newmania, I’ll be able to answer your question once I have seen the play, I’m sure you can get a ticket too, I’m taking my eldest son, he is my Shakespeare buddy, I love the Globe so much, and the RSC.

    Bill, I think police were slow on this because they did not want a scandel which would show them up in a bad light. I thought they felt shame and dishonour was a very serious matter, yet they seem to try and buy their way out of lengthy jail sentences.

    Philipa, you are very, very savvy, thank you so much for the link.

  17. Philipa

    Hot link: If you see an icon that looks like a planet with an infinity symbol on it, that’s the easy way. When you’re editing, click on the picture to select the object, then on the planet icon and a dialogue box should appear. Paste in the URL of the destination you want to hot link. Publish the post. Now when you click on the picture it will ‘hot link’ you to the URL you specified.

    Alternatively you have to do it with code and hot link just as you would with any text with the object that supports the link where the text is.

    Hope that helps.

  18. I agree with your points on Mr Blackman- seems to make nonsense of his previous behaviour. But at least the suspect has received the sentence he would have received if found guilty. However I agree too that it isn’t anywhere near long enough.
    Disappointed with Japanese police- I somehow thought -racial stereotyping- they’d be steely eyed and efficient.

  19. Philipa, I’m not entirely sure what your background is with PH, but I wouldn’t worry about it, you have lots of friends who visit your site.

    I did love the way your pic linked through to YouTube, I thought it was fabulous, I would like to know how you did that.

  20. Yes lets just all be nice . That is David Cameron`s Policy and I rather like it

  21. Othello at the Globe.

    Othello is one of my faves . One of the things I had though of especially until I saw good production that bought it out was the fact all the action happens in a far flung embattled scene of war.
    Oh let me not be jealous ( of your ticket) It is is the Green eyes monster that doth mock the meat it feeds on .Ellee I have garnered up my heart for you.

    Why does Othello believe Iago ? – Discuss.

  22. Philipa

    Thanks for the kind words Ellee, if only the rest of the world could learn to be kind to each other.

    Oh and if you ever find out why Peter Hitchens dislikes me so much, you will tell me won’t you? Have you read his Iran blog diary? It’s my recommendation of the day. I put my Photoshop skills at his disposal but he ignored me. I could have put the captions on the pictures rather than a list at the bottom so you have to scroll up and down (and count?). If I can be of any modest help to you with regard to digital imaging then please ask.

  23. Same reason Israel wanted the Muncih Bombers to go free. Then they found them and killed them one by one.

    Now thats how to negotiate with terrorrism

  24. electro-kevin

    I can think of only one reason why a grieving father should wish for his child’s killer to be free.

  25. Newmania,

    I’m sure Shakespeare would have been flattered at your attempt to immitate his wonderous style.

    He is certainly one of my literary heroes, I have booked tickets to see Othello at the Globe.

  26. Words fail me ….”O crapulous new world, that has such people in’t!”

    Shakespeare is good but I always think I can improve him a bit

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