Wearing a headscarf so she might more easily hide her identity in the future, kidnapped Austrian Natascha Kampusch has faced the cameras to give a detailed account of her eight years in captivity. On the day she was snatched from the street by Wolfgang Priklopil, she told of the suspicions she had on seeing him, and her anger at not reacting more quickly: “He grabbed me. I tried to scream but no sound came out. Yes, I was in desperation and very angry. I was very upset with myself that I hadn’t crossed the street and that I did not go to school with my mother in her car.”
The interview on Austrian television was overseen by a psychiatrist. Kampusch said it was Priklopil’s threats to kill anyone who helped her that stopped her from trying to escape sooner. “I couldn’t approach anyone because he threatened to harm them if I spoke with them, he would kill or get rid of them. “For example the nice ladies in DIY stores – they would ask ‘Can I help you?’ and then I would just stand there completely intimidated and in panic, my heart pounding and with problems with my circulation, barely able to move. I then just had to stand by helplessly while he got rid of the sales people. I barely had the chance to smile at one salesman – he was so friendly and did not know anything. I just tried to smile like I did in the photos, so that the people could remember my face, because you normally smile in photos.”
Kampusch spent much of her time holed up in a six-metre square room under Kriplokil’s garage. She was provided with books to read and spoke impeccable German in the interview. Despite appearing composed, she revealed some of the inner trauma when she said death had held no fear for her – because it would have meant escape from her captor.