Archive for the ‘Crime’ Category

Death penalty set for Japan’s “Black Widow”

Kanae Kijima AFP/Getty Images

A Japanese woman nicknamed the “Black Widow” for murdering a trio of boyfriends will now face the executioner herself.

Japan’s Supreme Court dismissed Kanae Kijima’s final appeal to overturn her conviction on Friday, setting up her death by hanging, according to reports.

“I hope to see you again somewhere someday,” Kijima, 42, wrote Thursday in her blog, in which she chronicles her life in the slammer.

Kijima was convicted of killing three former lovers within a span of eight months in 2009 by poisoning them with carbon monoxide.

She burned charcoal briquettes after plying them with sleeping pills.

She pleaded not guilty to the charges, claiming that the men likely committed suicide or died by accident, according to Kyodo news service.

But, in 2012, Saitama District Court convicted her of murder and sentenced her to death.

The death sentence was upheld two years later by Tokyo High Court, which ruled Kijima committed the crimes to maintain her lavish lifestyle.

Prosecutors, who relied on circumstantial evidence, said she murdered the men so she wouldn’t have to pay back the money they gave her, the BBC reported.

Kijima met all three men — Takao Terada, 53; Kenzo Ando, 80; and Yoshiyuki Oide, 41 — in the Tokyo area through an online dating service and killed them between January and August 2009.

She’s married twice since getting caught.

Japan’s death penalty — which is exclusively carried out by hanging — is widely supported by the public in Japan. It can take years to carry out.

Jill Dawson, UK author, gives 3 question interview to Interlitq

Jill Dawson‘s ninth novel, The Crime Writer, now out in paperback, and about to be published in the States by Harper Collins, is a portrayal of Patricia Highsmith set in the 60s in Suffolk, England, where Highsmith has come in order to concentrate on her writing and escape her fans – and to continue a secret romance with a married lover. Unfortunately, it soon becomes clear that all her demons have come with her. Prowlers, sexual obsessives, frauds, imposters, suicides and murderers: the tropes of her fictions clamour for her attention, rudely intruding on her peaceful Suffolk retreat.
Interlitq: 1. What made you choose Patricia Highsmith as the subject of your latest novel? How did you feel about her on beginning your research, and how do you feel about her now
Jill Dawson: I found her an addictive writer, mesmerically compelling but I also felt about her how Ginny does in the novel: ‘I don’t think you could call me an admirer. I find much of your writing strangely distasteful….’  The distaste comes from the fact that Highsmith is obsessed with evil and criminality and why people commit the most heinous acts.  She has an uncanny talent for capturing this and the page seems to bristle with it.  In the end though, I also admired her craftsmanship, her bracing honesty and her superior psychological insights.
Interlitq: 2. Your novels are often based on real people – Fred and Edie, based on the case of Thompson and Bywaters in the 1920s; The Great Lover, a love story about the poet Rupert Brooke; or Wild Boy about the Wild Boy of Aveyron. It might be said that your novels sit in a hinterland between biography and fiction. What has made you create this third space to write in?
Jill Dawson: It comes from my interest in psychotherapy and my observation that some people – including some biographers that I know – don’t know themselves or understand people or the unconscious world very well.  I do love biographies and read them a lot for the factual information. But the ability of a biographer to conjure up a person on the page and make them come alive is a writing skill and not all have it!  Biographers do invaluable research – and to that I am indebted  – but I do not believe theirs is the only legitimate form in which to present ‘real’ life. I’d even suggest that sometimes a novel, like a painting or portrait, can capture a person’s likeness better than a factual representation (eg photograph) can. We have many selves.  I read eleven biographies of Rupert Brooke when writing my novel The Great Lover.  A different man emerged in each….
Interlitq: 3. You used to teach at the UK’s most famous MA of Creative Writing at the University of East Anglia and you’ve also taught Creative Writing at Amherst and for the Faber Academy. Can you tell us a little more about your work with new and emerging writers?
Jill Dawson: I have taught on many MAs in Creative Writing, yes, but students of such courses often want more input from the tutor, less time spent having to read the work of the other students and listen to their feedback.  They usually would like me, the only published professional writer on the course to read and comment on their entire novel and this is impossible when I have a course of 12 students to ‘workshop’ every week. So in 2007 I set up Gold Dust. ( It pairs new writers with well established ones to work with the new writer for a year on writing their novel, memoir, biography or other project. I think it’s a unique scheme – we have some great writers as mentors –  Louise Doughty, Andrew Miller, Jane Rogers, Sarah Hall, Tim Pears, Liz Jensen and Romesh Gunesekera to name a few –  so it’s a very special opportunity for new writers to receive individual input from an award-winning writer at the top of their game. (All our mentors have won, judged or been nominated for major literary prizes: the Booker, the Costa, The Impac, The Orange, The Governor General….)  Over the years since we’ve begun we’ve had tons of success stories and lots of  my mentees have gone on to publish, which of course is very pleasing. We do offer the mentoring online via Skype and email too and if anyone is interested do take a look at our success stories and the many testimonies on the site.

Fred West Police Interview, SUBTITLED

Fred West

Fred West

Fred West Police Interview, SUBTITLED.

Kim Jong-nam killing: Malaysia expels North Korean ambassador

Kim Jong-nam

Kim Jong-nam

Malaysia has expelled North Korea’s ambassador after he criticised its investigation into the killing of the North Korean leader’s half-brother.

Kang Chol must leave within 48 hours, Malaysia’s foreign ministry says.

It demanded an apology after the envoy said North Korea could not trust Malaysia’s handling of the inquiry, but says it did not receive one.

Kim Jong-nam, the half-brother of Kim Jong-un, died three weeks ago at a Kuala Lumpur airport.

Malaysia has not directly blamed North Korea for the attack, in which two women smeared the nerve agent VX on Mr Kim’s face. But there is widespread suspicion Pyongyang was responsible.

‘Hundreds’ of US Jewish graves attacked in Philadelphia


Police are searching for the vandals who damaged what one local rabbi said was nearly 500 headstones at a Jewish graveyard in Philadelphia.

Money is being raised to repair the graves and to identify and prosecute the apparently anti-Semitic attackers.

The vandalism comes less than a week after a Jewish cemetery near St Louis, Missouri, was defaced.

On Monday morning, more than a dozen Jewish Community Centers (JCC) in the US received telephone bomb threats.

The threats were made to JCC locations in Alabama, Delaware, Florida, Indiana, Maryland, Michigan, New Jersey, New York, North Carolina, Pennsylvania and Virginia.

In a statement, the JCC’s David Posner said that government officials “must speak out – and speak out forcefully – against this scourge of anti-Semitism impacting communities across the country”.

“Actions speak louder than words. Members of our community must see swift and concerted action from federal officials to identify and capture the perpetrator or perpetrators who are trying to instill anxiety and fear in our communities,” the statement read.

Later on Monday, US Attorney General Jeff Sessions said the recent bomb threats against Jewish groups are “unacceptable” and a “very serious and destructive practice”.