Top Japan court upholds death penalty for ‘black widow’ who murdered three men she met online

Kanae Kijima bought coal briquettes and sleeping pills, prepared stoves and then stayed with each man until just before he died

PUBLISHED : Friday, 14 April, 2017, 4:34pm
UPDATED : Saturday, 15 April, 2017, 3:48pm

Japan’s top court on Friday upheld the death sentence given to a 42-year-old woman for killing three men she met through an online dating service in the Tokyo area in 2009.

Although Kanae Kijima had pleaded not guilty to the murders, the top court ruled she killed all three - Takao Terada 53, Kenzo Ando, 80, and Yoshiyuki Oide, 41 - between January and August of 2009.

Lower courts recognised Kijima, who has changed her surname to Doi while on death row, as the perpetrator, mainly based on circumstantial evidence, while rejecting the defence counsel’s argument that the victims may have committed suicide or died by accident. The cause of death in each case was carbon monoxide poisoning.

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In March 2012, the Saitama District Court found her guilty of murder and sentenced her to death as demanded by the prosecution, saying she bought coal briquettes and sleeping pills, prepared stoves and then stayed with each man until just before he died.

In March 2014, the Tokyo High Court upheld the death sentence, saying she committed the crimes to maintain a luxurious lifestyle.

Kijima the latest example in Japan of women involved in the deaths of numerous partners - termed “black widows” after the female spider which devours its mate after coupling.

In 2014, a 67-year-old millionairess was arrested on suspicion of poisoning her husband with cyanide, as it emerged six former partners had already died.