Sunday, May 4, 2008

Sex slave dungeon: I knew Fritzl had raped his daughter, says man upstairs

A man who rented a room in the Austrian House of Horrors knew Josef Fritzl had raped his own daughter – but remained silent because he feared being evicted.

Sepp Leitner said he had been told of the crime before he moved into the property in Amstetten near Vienna. He lived directly above the cellar dungeon in which Elisabeth Fritzl was imprisoned for 24 years.

Mr Leitner, 42, also told how he had expensive energy bills – which he later discovered were covering the cost of heating the cellar.

He said Fritzl evicted him after four years because his dog would not stop barking at the cellar door.

Mr Leitner said that Elisabeth's 'best friend' – who he refused to name – warned him about Mr Fritzl's behaviour before he moved into the house in 1990.

He said: "I knew Sissi (Elisabeth) was being raped by her father before she disappeared. I had a good friend from school who was really close to her. She told me what a monster Josef was – and what he had done to Sissi.

"But I did not want to get involved. I did not want to get kicked out of the room. I kept myself to myself."

Mr Leitner, a waiter who went to Amstetten Institute Of Technology with Elisabeth before she disappeared, said he never heard any odd noises from the cellar – but admitted he was baffled by the huge energy bills.

He noticed his meter kept running even when everything was switched off. He said: "I was paying for electricity downstairs."

Mr Leitner, who now lives in the Austrian town of Neustadt, says his dog, Sam, sensed something amiss.

He said: "Sam always ran to the cellar door and barked. I thought he was just excited about going outside. When Fritzl noticed (the dog) he kicked me out by changing the locks. He was furious."

Fritzl, 73, kept his daughter as a sex slave in the cellar since 1984, repeatedly raping her and fathering seven children. One died soon after birth.

Elisabeth's mother, Rosemarie, 68, claims she was unaware her daughter was a prisoner and thought she had run away. Witnesses have described food being delivered to the cellar in a wheelbarrow and questioned how Rosemarie could not have known.


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