A court in Austria has heard a man, who had seven children with his daughter, admit incest while he kept her locked in a secret underground dungeon for 24 years. Josef Fritzl also plead guilty to false imprisonment, and he partially admitted a charge of rape – Austrian law allows him to enter a qualified plea. But the 73-year-old denied murdering another of his children who died shortly after being born in the cellar in 1996, or turning his daughter Elisabeth into a slave.
The charge sheet reads: “He made Elisabeth totally dependent on him, forcing her into sexual acts and treating her as if she were his own property.” The case has attracted attention from all over the world. A court spokesman told a news conference that members of the jury were shown video testimony recorded by Fritzl’s daughter. Beneath his house in Amstetten, authorities allege Fritzl built a cramped, secret world. Elisabeth lived there with three of their offspring – children the police said never saw daylight. The other three lived with Fritzl and his wife. During this underground existence, their father was happy to be filmed, sunning himself on holiday in Thailand. A verdict is expected this week. Fritzl is facing life behind bars.