Austrian police defend actions in dungeon-incest case
Austrian police say the man who held his daughter prisoner for 24 years and fathered seven children with her had no accomplices and planned his crime too meticulously to have been caught any earlier.
Faced with tough questions about how the shocking crimes could have gone undetected for so long, chief investigator Franz Polzer told reporters there was absolutely no indication Josef Fritzl, 73, was working with anyone.
Fritzl has admitted to keeping his daughter locked in a windowless bunker, repeatedly sexually assaulting her and later imprisoning their children.
Yet despite reports he had previously been convicted of attempted rape, the authorities saw no reason to investigate him further when he applied to adopt three of those children.
The head of Amstetten social services, Hans-Heinz Lenze, said by that time, any convictions had been expunged from his record as laid down in Austrian law.
Police experts were today examining Mr Fritzl's house in the small town ofAmstetten to investigate his claim that that gas would be pumped into thedank 60-square-metre cellar, said Helmut Greiner, a spokesman for Austria'sFederal Bureau of Investigations
“It may have just been an empty threat to intimidate the captive woman and herchildren into not trying to overpower him,” Mr Greiner said.
Mr Fritzl, a 73-year-old retired electrical engineer, has already admittedthat he imprisoned his daughter Elisabeth, now 42, in the cellar of thefamily home for 24 years, fathering seven children by her. Three of thosechildren grew up with her in the windowless dungeon.
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