2:24 pm - Thursday July 18, 2019

‘Black widow’ investigated after deaths of seven partners

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Japanese police have arrested an elderly millionairess on suspicion of poisoning her husband and are investigating the deaths of a further six partners.

Chisako Kakehi, 67, was arrested in Kyoto on Wednesday in an investigation that has hit the headlines here as a “black widow” case.

Kaheki, who has reportedly amassed more than 800 million yen (£4.3 million) in life insurance payouts and inheritances from her late partners, has denied the charges.

“I did not kill anyone,” police quoted Kakehi as telling them, according to TV Asahi. “I don’t even know how to kill someone. And I don’t know where the cyanide came from. I wish someone would tell me.”

Police launched their investigation after the death of Isao Kakehi, 75, at the end of last year. Mr Kakehi collapsed at the couple’s home, in Muko City, just one month after their marriage and died in a local hospital.

An autopsy conducted by the hospital discovered highly toxic cyanide compounds in his system.

Three months earlier, Kakehi’s then-boyfriend was taken ill after they ate at a restaurant, Jiji Press reported.

In March 2012, her 71-year-old fiancee died after falling off his motorbike in Osaka. The cause of death at the time was given as a heart attack, although blood taken during the autopsy was stored by police.

As the case against Kakehi proceeded, analysis of that blood sample also revealed the presence of cyanide compounds.

Kakehi’s first husband died in 1994, at the age of 54, while her second husband, whom she met through a dating agency, had a stroke in 2006 and died at the age of 69. A third marriage ended with her husband’s death in 2008.

One year later, a boyfriend died from what was ascribed to cancer.

If she is convicted of murdering her partners, Kakehi is likely to be sentenced to death.

In April 2012, another black widow killer, 39-year-old Kanae Kijima, was given the death penalty for the murders of three men she met through Internet dating sites. Kijima was found guilty of drugging the men with sleeping tablets and then burning charcoal briquettes to poison them with carbon monoxide.

Kijima is awaiting the outcome of her appeal to the Supreme Court.

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