Deadly Black Widows who made antifreeze cocktails and ran murder factories

The gruesome stories of Black Widows slaying their husband's are the stuff of horror films.

But there are some stomach-churning tales that are so chilling they're not fiction, from life-insurance plots to poisoning partners, murderers tried to get creative when it comes to life and death.

Black widows are a species of spider known for the female's tendency to kill and eat the male not long after mating.

Understandably, the women across history who have killed their partners for either financial gain or their own disturbed motivations have become known as 'Black Widow murderers', and The Daily Star has revealed the women whose crimes still haunt us to this day.

Evelyn Dick

Evelyn Dick, perhaps more well known as the 'Torso Killer', was charged with the murder of her then-recently married husband, John Dick, but escaped her sentencing on a technicality.

Her father was not so lucky, however, as he was convicted of being an accessory to murder after dismembering the corpse in the basement of his home and burning the limbs.

The police later discovered the mummified body of John Dick's son, in a suitcase in her attic.

Despite the trial which gave her a life sentence and made public Dick's sexual relationships with over 150 men, including the judge's son, she was released after serving 11 years.

Betty Neumar

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All five of Betty Neumar's husbands met an unfortunate end though her alleged involvement in their deaths was never confirmed as she died before she could be tried.

Neumar was charged with hiring hitmen to kill her husbands as all five seemingly died of gunshot wounds.

Even Neumar's son committed suicide while Neumar was named the beneficiary of his $10,000 life insurance policy, though her criminality was never proven before dying of cancer at the age of 79.

Katherine Knight

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The New South Wales butcher demonstrated a predilection for brutality when beating her first husband with a frying pan before she stabbed her second boyfriend and murdered his puppy.

Years later after stabbing her new live-in boyfriend, John Price, 37 times, she skinned his body and hung the skin from a meat hook while she started to cook his body parts.

The police, who were called by Price's colleagues, discovered that she had laid the table for a dinner party and found Price's head in a pot boiling on the stove with vegetables.

Chisako Kakehi

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Known as 'the black widow of Kyoto', Chisako Kakehi is believed to have killed at least eight men for insurance money.

The widow has now amassed around $7m in life insurance payouts and has been charged with the murder of, Isao Kakehi, who collapsed in his home with cyanide in his system, just a month after their marriage.

In 2015 she was also charged with reportedly slipping hydrocyanic acid into a boyfriend's drink while they dined at a restaurant in 2007.

Last month, Kakehi lost her final appeal to avoid execution after being sentenced to death in 2017.

Stacey Castor

Despite calling the police to her house under the pretence that her husband had taken a bottle of antifreeze into the bathroom to commit suicide, evidence showed that Castor had actually force-fed poison to her husband with a turkey baster, and had likely done the same for first husband, Michael Wallace, who died of a heart attack.

When the police eventually closed in on Castor, she attempted to stitch up her daughter, Ashley Wallace.

She forced pills down Wallace's neck and while she subsequently lay comatose for 17 hours, Castor produced a fake suicide note in which Wallace 'confessed' to having killed her father.

Despite the attempt to clear her name, Castor was sentenced to 51 years in prison.

Amy Archer-Gilligan

Nursing home worker Amy Archer-Gilligan is suspected of murdering 48 people of her elderly and ill residents between 1911 and 1916 – including her husband.

When one of her boarder sisters grew suspicious, since dozens died shortly after naming her in their life insurance policies, the local press dubbed it 'the murder factory'.

Every death investigated by police had traces of either arsenic or strychnine, and shopkeepers said she bought large amounts of arsenic to "kill rates".

While it's suspected she killed at least 20 people, her lawyer convinced the prosecutor to only charge her with one killing.

She was convicted, and when the state appealed and she was re-tried, Archer-Gilligan pleaded insanity and given life behind bars.

She was then transferred to a mental hospital where she later died in 1962.

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