IBARAKI (TR) – To outside observers, it must have sounded like a mob hit: In July of last year, police raided the Kasumigaura City residence of Miho Ujiie and the found a corpse entombed in concrete inside a closet.
But rather than gangsters, the crime was the work of Ujie, 45, and a most unlikely person as Fuji News Network reports (July 5).
At the Mito District Court on Friday, presiding judge Mayumi Terasawa described the crimes of Ujie as “extremely vicious” in handing down a 23-year prison term for the murder of her husband, Noboru, and the dumping of his body.
According to the ruling, Ujie used a charging cable for a smartphone to fatally strangle Noboru, then 33, inside the residence on around February 17, 2018. Later that month, she placed the corpse in a garbage bag and entombed it in concrete. The body was then placed in the closet.
On March 9, Ujie lodged a missing persons report on her husband with the Tsuchiura Police Station. He last appeared at work in the middle of February, police said previously.
Ujie submitted divorce paperwork to the Kasumigaura City office on July 18. With Noboru still missing, police arrested her on suspicion of forgery of a document.
Police then discovered the body of her husband in the residence, which the couple shared with their daughter and twin boys, as a part of the forgery investigation on July 20.
Police said at the time that Noboru had been dead for several months. Several deodorants were being used to cover the smell at the time of the discovery.
Investigative sources later revealed that it was believed Ujie physically abused Noboru. On at least one occasion, he went to work with injuries to his head.
“I did not know whether I could do it alone”
During the trial, Ujie revealed that her daughter, then 11, held down the arms of her father as she strangled him.
“I did not know whether I could do it alone,” Ujie said during the trial. “I thought that I had no choice but to get help.”
In its closing argument, the prosecution said that the defendant lived a life of extravagance and accumulated debt.
“It was a betrayal of the victim,” the prosecution said.
The defense said that the defendant lacked cooperation from her husband with regards to child care and household chores.
“The crime was the culmination of stress, such as that brought about by her husband’s strong demands that she repay debt,” said the defense, which added that she admitted to the crime and has reflected upon her actions.
Judge Terasawa found the actions of Ujie to be “self-centered” and said that the involvement of her daughter deserves strong criticism.
“Such a long prison term will be painful,” the judge said as Ujie sat in the court, attired in glasses and a blue t-shirt. “But it is your children who will have a harder life. I pray for the children to find a new life while you serve your term.”