Saturday, 12 July 2008

Josef Fritzl's daughter, Elisabeth, gives evidence against him for first time

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The daughter of Josef Fritzl, the Austrian incest offender, has given evidence against her father to court authorities for the first time this week.
Fritzl, 73, a retired engineer, incarcerated and sexually abused his daughter Elisabeth, 42, in a purpose-built concrete dungeon beneath his home in the town of Amstetten for more than 24 years and fathered seven children with her. One of the children died shortly after birth and Fritzl burned its body in an incinerator.
The case was revealed on April 26 but doctors treating Elisabeth and her family have only now allowed the first questioning to take place, with her condition said to have dramatically improved after two months of intensive psychotherapy and medical care.
Elisabeth has now revealed details of her ordeal for the first time to Judge Andrea Hummer, who will try the case against her father. She was questioned only in the presence of the judge and her lawyer, while prosecutors and the legal representative of her father were able to ask questions via video-link from a separate room.
The hearing will continue into next week and possibly beyond that. Elisabeth's two oldest children, who spent their entire lives in the cellar, Kerstin 19, and Stefan, 18, will also be questioned by the court as soon as doctors give their approval.
Their testimonies will be recorded and presented to the court during the trial, expected to take place by November this year, in order to honour Elisabeth's demand that she and her children never be confronted with their father again. Fritzl has given up on his right to follow the questioning of his family and even ask them questions, together with the prosecutor and his lawyer, via video-link

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