Europe

France's 'Black Widow of the Riviera' tried over poisonings

Patricia Dagorn, a woman suspected of being a serial poisoner trapping wealthy widowers from the Cote d"Azur, is seen in a car as she arrives at court in Nice, south-eastern France, on 15 January 2018 to attend her trial Image copyright AFP
Image caption Police say Ms Dagorn allegedly asked her victims for money, or to name her in their wills

A woman who has been dubbed "the Black Widow of the Riviera" has gone on trial in the south of France, accused of seducing and poisoning four elderly men - two of whom died as a result.

Patricia Dagorn, who faces a life sentence if found guilty, denies the charges.

Police believe Ms Dagorn met at least 20 men through a matchmaking agency between 2011 and 2012.

She allegedly asked most of them for money, or to name her in their wills.

Ms Dagorn, 57, is already serving a five-year prison term for fraud and theft.

After that trial, police reopened an earlier investigation into the death of a man she had lived with, Michel Kneffel.

They discovered amongst his effects tablets of Valium tranquiliser and a number of personal documents belonging to a number of different men, including IDs, bank account details and health insurance cards.

That led investigators to another suspected murder case, that of an 85-year-old man, Francesco Filippone, who was found dead in a bath in 2011. She had earlier cashed a cheque from him worth €21,000 (£19,000; $25,000).

She said that money was a gift to help her open a jewellery shop.

The two surviving elderly men, Ange Pisciotta, 82, and Robert Vaux, 91, are due to testify in Nice at the trial, which is expected to last for a week.

Mr Vaux, who had brought Ms Dagorn to live with him in early 2012, says his health soon deteriorated and his doctor told him he had been in "mortal danger".

Ms Dagorn is accused of drugging him with Valium while trying to steal his property.

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