Austria: Man probed for 40 years of incest

2011-08-25 15:04

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Vienna - Police are probing an 80-year-old Austrian man suspected of sexually abusing his two daughters over more than 40 years, keeping them virtually locked in his house, officials said on Thursday.

From 1970 until May this year, the man allegedly abused his daughters, now aged 53 and 45, and prevented them from having any social contact outside the home, regularly threatening them with weapons and even death, police in Upper Austria province said in a statement.

The case came to light in early May after the man fell when he was pushed by his oldest daughter as he allegedly tried to rape her, and was found two days later by a social worker.

For years, the man and his daughters shared just one room of their house in the district of Braunau, near the German border, the police said.

The two women testified that they had to sleep on a small wooden bench and that their mother - who died in 2008 - was also regularly abused by her husband.

"They were evidently locked up in their own house, hardly ventured out into the open," Upper Austria police chief Alois Lissl told Austrian television ORF.

"They received (outside) care but were evidently so intimidated that they kept quiet about these acts their entire life."

Suspect denied accusations

"The alleged victims exhibit some mental deficiencies," local police chief Martin Pumberger told the Austria Press Agency.

The man, unable to stand up or call for help after his fall in May, was found by a social worker whom the daughters called two days later. She notified the police.

Pumberger said the suspect has denied all the accusations against him, and was not in custody as no charges had been formulated.

The prosecutor's office in Ried im Innkreis, Upper Austria, said it was investigating the case.

As an interim measure, the man has been banned from returning to his home for at least six months, a prosecution spokesperson said.

The man had been taken to hospital for treatment after his fall but has since been transferred to a nursing home in his town of Braunau, police spokesperson Hermine Prokesch added.

The case eerily brings to mind an earlier Austrian incest story, that of Josef Fritzl, who locked his daughter in a cellar for 24 years and fathered seven children with her, one of whom died.

Fritzl was sentenced to life in prison in March 2009.

Read more on:    josef fritzl  |  austria
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