The woman dubbed “Black Widow” has been sentenced to death by a Japanese court.
Chisako Kakehi, 70, became notorious after she tricked her husband and her lovers into drinking cyanide then pocketed millions in insurance payouts and inheritance. She also attempted to murder another man using cyanide but he survived.
She had relationships with many men, mostly elderly or ill who she met through dating agencies where she reportedly made it clear that prospective partners should be wealthy and childless.
Prosecutors said she killed the men after they made her the beneficiary of life assurance policies that ran into millions of pounds. She reportedly amassed one billion yen (£6.7million) in payouts over 10 years but subsequently lost most of the fortune through unsuccessful financial trading.
Kakehi, who is also known as “The Poison Lady”, is said to have stashed some of her cyanide in a plant pot she later threw out. The poisonous substance was found in the body of at least two of the men she was involved with and police reportedly found traces of cyanide in the rubbish at her Kyoto home. They also found paraphernalia for administering drugs and medical books at an apartment she kept.
When the trial began in June, Kakehi refused to speak but she later stunned the court by admitting killing her fourth husband in 2013.
“I killed him… because he gave other women tens of millions of yen but did not give me even a penny,” she told the court, according to Jiji Press.
The accused earlier told judges she was ready to be hanged.
“Even if I were executed tomorrow, I would die smiling,” Kakehi told judges.
The judgment trial of Kakehi at the Kyoto district was well attended, with people lining up for admission tickets. Kakehi’s defence lawyers argued that she was not criminally liable because she was suffering from dementia but Judge Ayako Nakagawa rejected the argument.
Kyoto District Court condemned Chisako Kakehi, 70, to the gallows for the murder.
“The accused made the victims drink a cyanide compound with a murderous intention in all the four cases,” Judge Ayako Nakagawa told the court.
The Black Widow’s lawyers reportedly plan to appeal to a higher court, suggesting the high-profile trial could yet drag on.