Female ex-wrestler held over killings

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A female former professional wrestler has been arrested on suspicion that she is the "Little old lady killer" who stalked Mexico City murdering 10 victims.

Investigators said they were looking for either a cross-dressing man or a robust woman who strangled elderly women with stockings or telephone cables.

They were right to look for a robust woman. Police announced this week they had caught former female wrestler Juana Barraza, 48, fleeing a murder scene and claim to have enough evidence to say she is the Little Old Lady Killer that has terrified elderly residents in the Mexican capital for the past two years.

Ms Barraza, a stocky wrestler known on stage as The Silent Lady, was arrested minutes after Ana María Reyes, 82, was found strangled in her home. As she was led away by police she told reporters: "Yes I did it. Just because I'm going to pay for it, that doesn't mean they're going to hang all the crimes on me."

According to Mexico City's Attorney General, General Barnardo Batiz, Ms Barraza has now admitted to four killings.

The case of the "Mataviejitas" had enthralled the Mexican tabloid press in a city used to crime but unaccustomed to serial killers, particularly one with such a colourful story.

Female serial killers are extremely rare; only eight per cent of serial killings in the United States are carried out by women.

In what turned out to be a good week for the much-criticised Mexico City police force, the authorities also announced the arrest of Raul Osiel Marroquin, who is accused of killing and torturing four gay men in the capital.

In a confessional news conference on Thursday, a common way of announcing high-profile arrests in Mexico, Marroquin said: "I snuffed out four homosexuals that in some way were affecting society." He told reporters he would happily kill again if given the chance but that next time he would "refine his methods".

The double arrests will do much to alleviate pressure on local police in a city renowned for its high levels of crime and poverty.