An elderly woman dubbed the "Black Widow", who tricked lovers into drinking cyanide and then pocketed millions in insurance payouts and inheritance, was sentenced to death in Japan yesterday.
Kyoto District Court condemned Chisako Kakehi, 70, to the gallows for the murder of three men - including a husband - and for the attempted murder of another, ending a high-profile case that has gripped the country.
Kakehi became notorious after using poison to dispatch a number of elderly men she was involved with, drawing comparisons with the spider that kills its mate after copulation.
"The accused made the victims drink a cyanide compound with a murderous intention in all four cases," Judge Ayako Nakagawa told the court. "The cases were well prepared in advance. They were cunning and malicious."
Kakehi showed no emotion when the judge handed down the sentence. The court said she killed the men after they made her the beneficiary of life assurance policies that reportedly ran into millions of dollars.
She had relationships with many men, mostly elderly or ill, meeting some through dating agencies.
The poison 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.