Josef Fritzl is set to be released from a psychiatric detention facility and moved to a regular prison to serve the rest of his sentence for imprisoning and raping his daughter for 24 years.
A court ruled that the notorious Austrian, who fathered seven of his daughter’s children, should be moved. Fritzl – who changed his name to Mayrhoff – will remain where he is while an appeal by prosecutors is under consideration.
Fritzl’s crime was revealed in 2008. He was sentenced in 2009 to life imprisonment for incest, rape, coercion, false imprisonment, enslavement and for the negligent homicide of one of his infant sons.
A three-judge state court panel ruled that he now should be moved from psychiatric detention on the basis of a new assessment, court spokesman Ferdinand Schuster told the Austria Press Agency on Wednesday.
The panel at the state court in Krems set a 10-year probation period and other conditions. The court decision, which needs approval in Vienna, is based on a psychiatric report, according to which the inmate no longer poses any danger.
Josef Fritzl is set to be released from a psychiatric detention facility and moved to a regular prison to serve the rest of his sentence for imprisoning and raping his daughter for 24 years. Pictured: Fritzl is shown in the yard of a prison (file photo)
A court ruled that the notorious Austrian (pictured in a mugshot in 2008), who fathered seven of his daughter’s children, should be moved. Fritzl – who changed his name to Mayrhoff – will remain where he is while an appeal by prosecutors is under consideration
Prosecutors appealed, sending the case to a higher court in Vienna. Fritzl, 87, will remain in a psychiatric facility while that court considers the appeal. The decision is not legally binding until the higher court in the Austrian capital rules on the matter.
If approved in Vienna, this would make Fritzl eligible for early release next year, in 2023, as- under Austrian law – he has already served 15 years of his sentence.
While unlikely, a 2023 release would mean he spent less time in jail than the time he kept his daughter locked up in the basement he built under their home.
A previous decision to move Fritzl to a normal prison, based on a psychiatric assessment that he no longer posed a danger, was issued in Krems in September and overturned on appeal.
The higher court sent the case back to Krems in November, arguing that the state court provided insufficient reasoning for its decision.
The Krems court is legally obliged to review regularly whether holding Fritzl in a psychiatric facility remains justified.
Fritzl’s daughter disappeared in 1984 at age 18, re-emerging in 2008 from the dungeon-like basement chamber in the town of Amstetten where her father had kept her captive. Fritzl built the basement himself.
The abuse resulted in the birth of seven children – three of which remained in captivity with their mother. One died at the hands of Fritzl, a matter of days after being born. His disposed of the body in an incinerator.
The other three were brought up Fritzl and his wife, Rosemarie.
Fritzl’s crime was revealed in 2008 – 24 years after his daughter (pictured in a school photo) went missing. He was sentenced in 2009 to life imprisonment for incest, rape, coercion, false imprisonment, enslavement and for the negligent homicide of one of his infant sons
A photo taken by a forensic team and released by the Austrian police with permission of Austria’s prosecution office on April 28, 2008 shows a view into a hidden room in a house in Amstetten, Austria
Josef Fritzl is seen at the County Court of St. Poelten in Austria for his trial, March 19, 2009
It was reported in 2019 that Fritzl, then 84, was exhibiting signs of dementia and that his mental health was deteriorating.
He was said to be extremely unpopular with other inmates at the Krems-Stein prison and spent much of his time in solitary confinement.
Meanwhile, Elisabeth Fritzl has not had any contact with her father since he was jailed and lives under a new alias in an unknown part of Austria with the children conceived during the decades her own father brutally raped her.
Fritzl’s horrific crimes were only discovered when one of the children, Kerstin, slipped into a coma and he took her to hospital where doctors noted her malnourished condition and rotting teeth.
When Elisabeth, now 55, was given permission to finally leave the dungeon to visit Kerstin in hospital, she was arrested and subsequently told the police about the horrific crimes her father had committed.
Fritzl said during his trial that he ‘actually meant well’ before being jailed.