UPDATE 19th March 2009
On 18 March Fritzl changed his plea to guilty on all charges, after viewing his daughter’s videotaped testimony.
Asked by the judge on why he changed his plea, he replied:
My daughter’s videotaped testimony. I’m sorry.
Then on 19th March, after a mere 4 days a verdict was reached: Fritzl convicted and sentenced to life imprisonment after being found guilty of all charges: rape, incest, murder and enslavement.
Before the verdict, Fritzl addressed the jury:
I regret from the bottom of my heart what I’ve done to my family. Unfortunately I cannot undo what I did. I can only try to limit the damage done as best as I can.
Fritzl showed no obvious emotion, telling the court that he accepted it and would not appeal. He left the court building with an impassive face.
Outside the court, his lawyer Rudolf Mayer said:
I would say that the verdict was a logical consequence of a confession. Of course if you have 3,000 cases of rape and 24 years of being kept in a cellar, it is evident that there can only be a punishment or verdict like this one.
UPDATE 18th March 2009
Fritzl’s trial began 16th March 2009.
He attempted to hide his face with a blue binder but still journalists managed to snap his photo when he had an unguarded moment:
He has pleaded guilty to incest and “partially” guilty to rape but not guilty to enslavement or murder.
It’s expected to be a very swift trial, with a verdict due a few days later.
Consider the following:
Detectives feared that as Elisabeth aged, Kerstin may have become Fritzl’s next victim. That would be an even more unthinkable crime: having sex with your own daughter who at the same time is also your granddaughter, her offspring (if it’s a she) would be your daughter, granddaughter and your great-granddaughter all at the same time. That’s revolting beyond words.
Joseph Fritzl started making the dungeon in 1978, when Elisabeth was only 12, 6 years before he forced Elisabeth to a quarter-century of subterranean hell.
Joseph had a previous rape conviction in the 60s.
Elisabeth was his favourite child because she was the prettiest. Joseph allegedly started abusing her in 1977 when she was 11.
Elisabeth as a teenager
Image of Elisabeth as a child and a younger Joseph [pic source: Daily Mail UK]
Joseph fathered 7 children with his own daughter.
The 7th child died at 3 days old in 1996 and Joseph threw his body was thrown down an incinerator.
Joseph went on extended holidays in Thailand, weeks at a stretch, without his wife, knowing full well that his daughter and his incestuous offspring were being locked in air so stifling one could almost suffocate in it. Investigators have had get holes drilled through the walls. Inner chambers appear to be solitary confinement cells with bare walls and floors used to terrify Elisabeth and the 3 kids if they misbehaved.
Joseph enjoying himself on holiday. Does he look like he just came out of drug rehab to you?
Joseph chained Elisabeth to the wall with a dog-lead for the first 9 months of her captivity.
Detective Franz Polzer, head of criminal investigations in Lower Austria, said: “The man is evil beyond words. The misery he has inflicted on his family is unimaginable.”
Joseph’s motive was to “recreate once again the situation he had with his first family, the legal family, but this time with a good looking young daughter.” But by the time Elisabeth, now 42, was rescued, she looked more like a sister to her mother, Rosemarie, 68. Her hair had turned grey and she had aged beyond her years.
Elisabeth Fritzl was imprisoned behind not one but eight doors, one of them weighing half a ton. Another 3 doors needed electronic codes, and they were secured with conventional locks as well.
Elisabeth had tried to run away from home in 1982, when she was 16, but was dragged back.
If his eldest incestuous child, Kirsten, 19 had not been very sick, the ordeal would not have stopped. She had spent all her life underground, never seeing sunlight. Kerstin is in a coma due to multiple organ failure, and is likely to die.
Joseph is planning to plead insanity to escape jail.
Even other inmates in the jail hates him and threatens to kill, making Fritzl refuse to come out of his cell.
Joseph had forced Elisabeth to help him build the dungeon.
From 1984, when she was first incarcerated, until 1992, that’s a full 8 years, Elisabeth was in a single room underground. The dungeon was only expanded after she had given birth twice. When she then begged him for more room, he made her help him scrape out another room by hand.
Even awaiting trial, Joseph is obsessed with media coverage. He enjoys watching TV news and reading every newspaper story about himself.
Which father could be worse than this?
Daily Telegraph (UK)