Page last updated at 07:22 GMT, Tuesday, 1 April 2008 08:22 UK

Life for Mexico's Old Lady Killer

Mexican serial killing suspect Juana Barraza, next to a police mock-up (file picture 2006)
Juana Barraza was arrested in 2006

One of Mexico's most prolific serial killers, a former female wrestler, has received multiple life sentences for the murders of at least 11 women.

Juana Barraza, nicknamed the Little Old Lady Killer or Mataviejitas, was sentenced to 759 years in jail for the killings of mostly elderly women.

It is thought she may have actually been responsible for up to 40 deaths.

Juana Barraza, 50, said she had been motivated by a lingering resentment against her mother.

Under Mexican law, she is likely to spend a maximum of 50 years in prison as multiple sentences are generally served concurrently.

The killings began in Mexico City in the late 1990s.

Transvestites questioned

After reports that a woman had carried them out, police suspected a man in woman's clothes. It meant months were spent detaining and questioning transvestites.

But police said the broad-shouldered Barraza, who as a professional wrestler was known as the Silent Lady, resembled composite profiles of the suspect.

She was arrested in 2006 after she was seen leaving the house of one of her victims who had been strangled with a stethoscope.

She was found in possession of social benefits papers and a social worker's identification card, which she used to gain entry to victims' homes by pretending to be a government employee who could sign them up to welfare programmes.

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30 Mar 03 |  Americas

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