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23 Oct 2008 08:28
Josef Fritzl, the Austrian man who kept his daughter in a cellar for more than two decades and fathered her seven children, has told a psychiatrist he was “born to rape” and that his behaviour was a way of “compensating for the defencelessness and humiliation he felt as a child”.
A report by a forensic psychiatrist leaked to the Austrian press said that Fritzl (73) believed his behaviour had been tame. “I was born to rape,” he is reported to have told the psychiatrist.
“Bearing that in mind I controlled myself for quite a long time.” He added: “I could have behaved a lot worse than locking up my daughter.”
The 130-page report based on six lengthy interviews between psychiatrist Heidi Kastner and Fritzl details his destructive relationship with his mother.
He described a childhood in which he was neglected. During World War II bombing raids his mother would retreat to an air-raid shelter for safety, leaving Fritzl alone in the family home, he said.
Fritzl locked up his daughter, Elisabeth (42), for 24 years in a purpose-built cellar and fathered seven children by her, of whom one died shortly after being born and three lived with him and his wife in his house upstairs.
He said he had deliberately never looked his daughter in the face while he was raping her. Kastner said it had been his way of distancing himself from the situation. He said he stopped having sex with his wife, Rosemarie, on the day he allegedly sedated his daughter and took her into the cellar. “Finally I had someone who was just for me,” he said.
He said he believed that she would always remain with him. “I only had so many children with her so that she would always stay with me, because as a mother of six she would no longer hold any attraction for other men.”
Fritzl admitted that he often punished his “dungeon family” for rebellious behaviour by turning off the light or letting them go hungry for several days. He also taunted the children with photographs of other children playing outside in the sun to “show them there was another world”.
Kastner said his sexual behaviour and his need to dominate women was his way of “compensating for the defencelessness and humiliation he felt as a child”.
Fritzl said that he had tried to escape from the horror of his childhood by burying himself in books. As an adult he said he had thrown himself into his work as a way of suppressing his sexual desires. He described himself as a “volcano” who felt “torn” and had come to the conclusion that he possessed a “mean streak”, and a “flood of destructive lava that was barely controllable”.
Shortly after puberty Fritzl began sexually attacking girls, and at the age of 32 he broke into the flat of a nurse and raped her at knifepoint.
In her report Kastner said that although Fritzl had deep psychological issues, a severe combined personality disorder and a serious sexual disorder, he was sane enough to stand trial. But she recommended that he should spend the rest of his days in a secure psychiatric unit and should never be set free, arguing he would always be a danger to society.
He was said to have a thin grasp of the gravity of his crime, after expressing a belief that he would spend his final days with his wife and pleading for a short prison sentence so that he could continue running his property business to enable him to provide for his family.
Elisabeth, her children and her mother continue to receive psychiatric care, but are believed to have been moved from a clinic to a secret location where they are trying to learn to lead a normal life.
Fritzl is expected to go on trial in the next few months.—guardian.co.uk
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