Japan’s ‘Black Widow’ admits killing a fourth victim, then retracts

Elderly woman is on trial for killing three ex-lovers and collecting their insurance money

Japan’s ‘Black Widow’ admits killing a fourth victim, then retracts

Insurance News

By Gabriel Olano

An elderly Japanese woman known as the “Black Widow” for allegedly murdering her lovers has admitted to claiming a fourth victim during her trial this week.

Chisako Kakehi, 70, is accused of killing three men, including a former husband, in order to claim their life insurance benefits. She is also charged with attempted murder of another.

According to prosecutors, she used cyanide to poison the men, and she was able to collect around ¥1 billion (US$8.84 million) from her lovers’ life insurance policies and inheritances in the two decades before she was arrested in 2014.

Kakehi’s trial began in late June, but in a hearing this week, she surprised everyone by revealing she murdered another man in 2013.

“I was waiting for the right timing as I wanted to kill him out of deep hatred,” she was quoted by the Asahi newspaper on Monday. But on Wednesday she apparently retracted her statement, saying “I don’t remember [what I said],” according to the Mainichi Shimbun.

Last year, the Kyoto district court said that medical examinations showed that Kakehi had early-stage dementia but was still fit to stand trial. If found guilty, she could be sentenced to death.

Kakehi allegedly met some of her partners through dating agencies, where she indicated she was looking for wealthy and childless prospective partners. According to prosecutors, the men died after making her the beneficiary of their life insurance policies, as they did not have heirs. Traces of cyanide were found in the blood of several of the men during autopsy, said media reports.

Several other “Black Widow” cases became sensational in Japan, named after the spider species where the female devours the male after mating. Kanae Kijima and Miyuki Ueta were both sentenced to death for the murders of three and two men, respectively. Both cases are on appeal at the Supreme Court.

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