Monday, May 5, 2008

Prisoner threatens to kill dungeon dad Josef Fritzl

JOSEF Fritzl, the Austrian who has admitted imprisoning his daughter and fathering children by her, has been moved to solitary confinement after his fellow inmates placed a bounty on his head.
The UK's Daily Express reported Mr Fritzl's cellmate in Austrian prison threatened to kill him when he learned of his alleged crimes.
The cellmate reportedly flew into a rage when he discovered that Mr Fritzl has used his daughter as a sex slave.
Child abusers are hated in Austrian prisons,” said the former bank robber.
“I know that if somebody has been blacklisted there is always a way of getting to him even if he is in solitary confinement,” the 63-year-old said.
“It can be during walks in the yard or during personal hygiene, or even at dinner which is prepared and served by the inmates.”

Mr Fritzl is still on suicide watch and his lawyer said he remained “distraught”.
“He is very depressed. It is certainly hard for him in jail,"  Dr Rudolf Mayer said.
“He is also very worried about all the threats. He was with another inmate but now he is on his own. He has a window and, as a remand prisoner, he has advantages over others.”
Mr Fritzl locked his daughter, Elisabeth, in a soundproof, windowless dungeon in his basement for nearly a quarter century where he fathered seven children by her, one of whom died, according to Austrian police.

Officers in Amstetten, the small town where the house of horrors was uncovered, are nearing the end of their investigation of the bunker and after only a few days working in it are likely to need trauma counselling.

Meanwhile Mr Fritzl's sister-in-law has branded him a "tyrant" who ruled his family with a culture of fear, but she has also said she never suspected a thing.

"He tolerated no dissent.  Listen, if I myself was scared of him at a family party, and I did not feel confident to say anything in any form that could possibly offend him, then you can imagine how it must have been for a woman that spent so many years with him," she told the Associated Press.

She has said her sister, Mr Fritzl's wife Rosemarie, had no involvement in his bizarre crimes.  "She never believed him capable of it."


Until now Mr Mayer has given no indication of how Mr Fritzl would plead in any trial, saying he did not believe his client would receive a fair hearing in view of the huge amount of press coverage.
If he believes a psychiatric evaluation of Mr Fritzl, 73, ordered by the court does not give a proper assessment of his client, he will consider ordering a separate report, Mr Fritzl's lawyer Rudolf Mayer told the German weekly Bild am Sonntag.

"In my personal opinion, Josef Fritzl is mentally ill and therefore of diminished responsibility," he said.  
"I believe that my client does not belong in prison but in a secure psychiatric unit."

He said he was "not defending a monster but a human being, even if that is hard to take for some people. I am already receiving threatening letters saying that I belong in the cellar with Mr Fritzl".

Franz Polzer, heading the police investigation, has said police are close to completing their examination of the bunker.

"Our puzzle is almost complete," Mr Polzer has told the Austrian newspaper Kurier, adding there was no evidence Mr Fritzl had any accomplices.

A major task is to establish whether Mr Fritzl was serious about his alleged threat to gas the occupants of his windowless bunker if anything happened to him.

Single room

German weekly Der Spiegel has reported Elisabeth has told police that for the first nine years of her imprisonment the dungeon comprised just one room, implying that incestuous sex or rape took place in the presence of young children.

From 1984 to 1993, "repeated rapes committed by Josef Fritzl" took place in front of children born in 1988, 1990 and 1992, the report quoted Elisabeth's testimony to police as saying.

It also said Elisabeth was handcuffed to a post for the first two days underground, when she was 19 years old. She was then tied to a leash for the next six or nine months so that she could go to the toilet on her own.

Mr Fritzl had also installed punishment cells, Mr Polzer was quoted as saying by Britain's Sunday Mirror.

"The punishment cells were utterly bare," said the Mirror
"They are distinctive and stand out as they look just like a prison cell," it quoted Mr Polzer as saying.

Areas of the dungeon appear to have been under construction and it was possible Mr Fritzl might have been planning to expand it even further.

"But we simply don't know what his intentions were," the Mirror also quoted the officer as saying.
"He is no longer co-operating with us, which makes it hard, but he has admitted all the charges to us."


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