A 67-year-old woman has reportedly been arrested in Japan on suspicion of killing her husband, in what local media have described as the country’s latest possible “black widow” case.
Interest in the fate of Chisako Kakehi has risen sharply since it emerged that the death was the sixth involving her former partners.
It has been likened in Japan to the case of Kanae Kijima, who in 2012 was sentenced to death for murdering three former lovers for financial gain. It became known as “The Black Widow Case”, named after the female spider that kills and eats its partner after mating.
According to the Japan Times, Ms Kakehi has accepted that she has been married four times and that several former partners have died within a few years of meeting her.
But she has denied murdering her latest husband, Isao Kakehi, who died at the age of 75 at the couple’s home in Muko, Kyoto one month after they wed. The Times reported that an autopsy found lethal quantities of cyanide in his blood.
Cyanide was also reportedly found in the blood of one of Ms Kakehi’s former boyfriends in March 2012, after collapsed while riding a motorbike and died. Ms Kakehi also denied involvement in that death, saying she has “absolutely no idea” about cyanide.
Jiji Press reported that prior to Isao’s death, another 75-year-old who was going out with Ms Kakehi fell suddenly ill and died after the pair ate out at a restaurant.
In 2009, a boyfriend of Ms Kakehi reportedly died of an unknown form of cancer, while husbands two and three died in 2006 and 2008 respectively.
Ms Kakehi’s first husband was reported to have died at the age of 54 in 1994.
Quoting a source in the investigation, Jiji Press said police believe Ms Kakehi to have received a total of 800 million yen (£4.3 million) in inheritance and insurance pay-outs from the deaths.
But according to TV Asahi, Ms Kakehi told officers: “I didn’t kill anyone. I don’t even know how to kill. As to the cyanide, I don’t know where it came from. I wish someone would tell me.”