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Japan's 'Black Widow' sentenced to death for murder

The Kyoto District Court handed down the ruling of capital punishment to Chisako Kakehi, 70, although her defence counsel pleaded not guilty to the crime due to a lack of physical evidence, also arguing she can not be held responsible as she suffers from dementia.

'The accused made the victims drink a cyanide compound with a murderous intention in all the four cases, ' Judge Ayako Nakagawa told the court, according to public broadcaster NHK. "The death sentence can not be avoided even after fully taking into account dementia and other factors", presiding Judge Ayako Nakagawa said in the ruling.

Her lawyers are understood to be preparing to appeal against her conviction.

The woman used the inheritance to buy risky stocks and also invested in dodgy real estate, the reports said, adding that she had lost most of her acquired wealth and got into debt on ill-advised investments.

Nakagawa rejected defence lawyers' arguments that Kakehi was not criminally liable because she was suffering from dementia.

The defense also claimed that there was a possibility some of the victims had died from disease or by different drugs or poisons, noting that some of the victims had not undergone legal autopsies.

Cyanide was found in the bodies of at least two of the men and traces were found in the rubbish at Kakehi's home in Kyoto.

Kakehi initially refused to speak when her trial began in June but later stunned the court by admitting having killed her fourth husband in 2013.

Kakehi was later indicted in connection with the death of a couple of her lovers.

Kakehi first Wednesday at the age of 24, launching a fabric-printing company in Osaka Prefecture with her first husband. Following the death of her first husband in 1994, however, her company went bankrupt and her house was put up for sale.

Prosecutors said Kakehi had met some of the men - a lot of them elderly or ill - through dating agencies.

She made one billion yen (£6.6m) before losing most of it through failed financial trading.

The trial was held under the nation's lay judge system, which involves citizen judges.



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