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Japan's 'black widow' sentenced to death

08 November 2017

During the trial, prosecutors described how the murders occurred after Kakehi joined a matchmaking service asking to meet rich men without children.

A Japanese woman dubbed the "Black Widow" has been sentenced to death for tricking elderly lovers into drinking cyanide and pocketing millions in insurance payouts and inheritance. She obtained the poison while running a printing plant and investigators discovered a small packet of the poison buried in a flower pot.

According to the BBC, Kakehi had three other husbands who all passed away, though she has not been charged with any crime in relation to their deaths.

Kakehi has become notorious over accusations she dispatched a number of elderly men she was involved with, drawing comparisons with the spider that kills its mate after copulation.

But her lawyers reportedly plan to appeal to a higher court, suggesting the high-profile trial could yet drag on.

The 70-year-old married or partnered at least 10 men and inherited about 1 billion yen.

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The court ruled that Chisako Kakehi is guilty in all four cases, which took place in three western prefectures.

But later that week, Kakehi recanted her confession, saying that she did not remember the admission. However, the one-time millionairess went bankrupt and was debt-ridden.

Kakehi was arrested in 2014 after her fourth husband, 75, was found dead in their home a month after the couple married. They accused her of plotting her crimes well in advance, including helping to prepare notary documents linked to wills.

Prosecutors have said the men perished at her hands after making her the beneficiary of life assurance policies that ran into millions of dollars.

Kakehi's defense lawyers claim that she can't be criminally liable, as she had developed dementia at the time of the murders.

While sentencing the old woman, presiding judge Akiko Nakagawa said: "It was an extremely malicious and sneaky crime borne out of greed for money". "I will laugh it off and die if I am sentenced to death tomorrow", she was reported as saying. Having opened in June, it was the second-longest of its kind, with 135 days spent examining the case.

Japan's 'black widow' sentenced to death