'Silent scream' launched by Lucie charityFamily of murdered Lucie Blackman back text alert

04 December 2007

Silent Scream device

A 'silent scream' text message device has been launched by a charity set up in the name of murdered Tokyo hostess Lucie Blackman.

The hi-tech gadget forms part of a campaign aimed at helping young people stay safe over the festive period.

The device works by pressing a button on the key fob for four seconds, which sends an alert to four people on their mobiles.

Buddysafe

The message not only serves as an alert for help, but instantly locates the sender using satellite technology, even if they are moving.

The BuddySafe device is free to under-18s with a monthly running cost of £4.99. For adults, it costs £30 to buy and £5.99 a month to run.

The Lucie Blackman Trust will also unveil a Christmas survival guide and other personal safety products, including alarms and drink-spiking detectors.

'Help save lives'

Miss Blackman's father, Tim, who lives on the Isle of Wight, believes the device could help save young lives.

He set up the Lucie Blackman Trust to protect young people and stop families experiencing his nightmare, which started seven years ago when his daughter was killed in Japan.

He said: 'My daughter Lucie was drugged, raped and murdered. I want to ensure other families don't experience this nightmare and I will do everything I can to keep young people safe at home or abroad. This is a Christmas campaign. It is also for personal safety. People go to more parties, we meet strangers and we go to places we haven't been before.'

Disappeared

Miss Blackman, from Sevenoaks, Kent, disappeared in July 2000 while working as a bar hostess in the Roppongi district of Tokyo.

Her dismembered body was discovered in a cave just 100 yards from Japanese businessman Joji Obara's apartment after a seven-month search.

The prosecution alleged during Obara's trial that he drugged and raped her before she died. But Obara was cleared of raping and killing her at Tokyo District Court earlier this year.

The prosecution is appealing against the verdict but Mr Blackman said the family were distancing themselves from the long drawn-out legal process 'for our own sanity'.

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