Tokyo: A Japanese court on Friday upheld the death sentence for a woman dubbed the “Black Widow”, who used cyanide to kill a string of elderly and rich lovers and pocketed millions in insurance payouts and inheritance.

The Osaka High Court rejected an appeal by Chisako Kakehi, 72, to overturn her sentence of death by hanging for the murder of three men — including a husband — and the attempted murder of another, in a case that gripped Japan.

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 court “turned down the appeal” made by defence lawyers, according to a spokesman. Her lawyers launched a final appeal, according to local news agency Jiji Press.