In Amstetten, the village where Josef Fritzl committed his horrific crimes, there was relief when the court handed down the life sentence. But some residents said it was not harsh enough.
One man said: “I think it is just, that he is being locked up for life. Anything else would have surprised me.” One woman called him a “monster” and a “devil”. There was no comment from Fritzl’s daughter and their children, who are living in a secret location with new identities. But her lawyer told the court, before the jury made its decision, that Elisabeth wanted her father to be held responsible for his acts until he died. There was no word either from Fritzl’s wife Rosemary, who detectives insist knew nothing of events, despite his nightly absences for “engineering work” in the cellar. She is reportedly divorcing Fritzl. Another woman said she was looking forward to the whole case dying down: “Any sentence is too soft for what he has done to his family. There is no punishment for that,” she said. As for Fritzl, the case psychiatrist says there is a real risk he will commit suicide and the court says he will be closely monitored as a result.