Fritzl: ‘I knew I must be mad for doing such a thing’

Josef Fritzl, the man who incarcerated his daughter beneath his home for 24 years, has issued a frank confession from his cell, in which he has said he was driven by an addiction which ”got out of control”.

Fritzl (73) said: ”I knew that what I was doing was not right, that I must be mad for doing such a thing. But despite this, at the same time it became completely matter of fact for me that I had a second life which I led in the cellar of my house.”

The pensioner made the statement in notes to his lawyer Rudolf Mayer, which were passed on, at Fritzl’s request, to News, an Austrian current affairs magazine.

He admitted repeatedly raping his daughter Elisabeth. ”It was like an addiction,” he said.

He said he had taken few contraceptive precautions ”because the truth was I wanted children from Elisabeth”. Elisabeth, now 42, bore seven of his children between 1992 and 2002, one of whom died at three days old. ”I was happy with the offspring,” he said. ”It was a lovely idea for me, to have a proper family … in the cellar with a good wife and a couple of children.”

Fritzl claimed that his emotions towards his daughter were a ”redirection” of incestuous feelings he had felt towards his own mother, Maria, as a boy but which he had never been able to express. ”My Mama was a strong woman,” Fritzl said.

”She taught me the principles of discipline, order and hard work, and encouraged me in my school and professional life.”

She raised him on her own, taking on several jobs to make ends meet following World War II, he said. She had separated from her husband, whom Fritzl described as a ”worthless scoundrel and a womaniser”.

”She was as strict as needs be, the best woman in the world. And I was her husband in some way.

”She was the boss at home, but I was the only man in the house … I succeeded in suppressing my desires.”

The uncanny similarities he found between Elisabeth and his mother in terms of looks and abilities were what made him ”choose her” rather than her other sisters, he said.

”My desire to have sex with Elisabeth became ever stronger,” he said. ”It was a vicious circle from which there was no exit.”

But he insisted he still loved his wife of 52 years, Rosemarie (68) with whom he has seven children. ”The fact is I loved her and I still love her.”

Locking up Elisabeth in 1984 he said, had been a way of controlling her. ”She was very different to my other children,” he said. ”She’d go out the whole night long, drank alcohol … even ran away twice. I brought her back each time.”

He admitted drugging her and taking her to the cellar which it is believed he built specifically as her prison.

He said he ”had to create a place where I could keep Elisabeth by force if necessary, away from the world.

”I knew that Elisabeth didn’t like what I was doing to her, I knew I was hurting her. But the pressure to finally be able to do what was forbidden was just too strong within me.”

The scenario became ever harder to control, he said. ”With every week that I kept my daughter imprisoned my situation got ever crazier,” he said.

”I considered again and again whether or not I should let her go. But I was not able to reach a decision although — and perhaps precisely because — I knew every day that passed, I’d be more severely judged for what I had done … until one day it was simply too late to free Elisabeth.”

He repeated his claim that he had installed a timer-device on the steel doors of the dungeon so that if anything happened to him they would open after a certain length of time. ”Had I died Elisabeth and the children would have been set free.”

He said he had not considered committing suicide. ”I don’t want to die,” he said. ”The only thing I want is to make amends.” – guardian.co.uk Â

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