“I killed my husband,” 70-year-old Ms Chisako Kakehi said from the witness stand in court last week, “I have no intention of hiding the guilt. I will laugh it off and die if I am sentenced to death tomorrow. I was waiting for the right timing as I wanted to kill him out of deep hatred.”
The one-time millionaire who some say has now gone dement, was known in police circles as the ‘Black widow’ for murdering her husbands, was sentenced after a long and very public trial in Japan.
In the end, Kyoto District Court condemned her to death by hanging for the murder of three men (two lovers and a husband) as well as the attempted murder of another.
Her ‘Black widow’ title was received as Ms Kakehi’s method of operating draws comparisons with the infamous spider that kills its mate after copulation
According to public prosecutors, Ms Kakehi used cyanide to rid herself of her husband’s so she could get her hands on the insurance payouts, totalling a payout of $8.8 million over a period of 10 years.
In all, six men died whilst in a relationship with Ms Kakehi over the past 20 years. All of them were between 70 and 80 years old and met Ms Kakehi between 2007 and 2013.
The woman’s other husbands, whom she married in the same period, have also all died, but she has not been charged in their deaths.
In the wake of this court case, Japan’s criminal justice system came under scrutiny as reporters asked why a number of her lovers’ deaths were not investigated as being suspicious.
If autopsies would have been carried out on their bodies, detectives now admit that they would have found cyanide. Reporters say that the quick succession of dead husbands and lovers should have set off alarm bells sooner.