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Austrians affected by incest case encouraged to express feelings


Vienna : Austrian police Saturday continued their investigation into the “house of horrors” case in which a 73-year-old man has admitted to having held his daughter in a basement dungeon for 24 years, raped her repeatedly and fathered her seven children.

Josef Fritzl was also being probed in connection with other crimes of a sexual nature.

His victims, 42-year-old Elisabeth, her six surviving children – three of whom spent their lives in the tiny basement dungeon – and Frizl’s wife Rosemarie were meanwhile undergoing psychological treatment.

Rosemarie, 68, apparently knew nothing of the goings on in the locked basement of their home in the small town of Amstetten in eastern Austria, according to police.

Details of the gruesome crime has shocked Austrians and made headlines internationally. The town at the centre of the case on Saturday launched an initiative to help those affected to express their often pent up feelings, according to reports.

Amstetten Mayor Herbert Katzengrueber, invited locals to share their feelings in the form of words, drawings and signatures on a 35-metre-long banner, the Austrian Press Agency reported.

“The recent events have left us all speechless. Amstetten is a booming town in a beautiful region that has been shattered by an unfathomable deed by a single person,” he said, expressing sympathy for the victims.

The crime scene was attracting people curious to see where the grisliest crime in modern Austrian history had taken place. People were travelling from as far as Germany to see the “house of horrors”, according to reports.

The clinic where the family were being treated at Amstetten-Mauer was also being besieged by foreign reporters and photographers.

Lower Austrian police chief, Franz Polzer, said Friday that Fritzl had secured the cellar with two steel doors. Police had previously thought that Fritzl had accessed his dungeon via a single electronically-locked 300-kg steel door.

Fritzl has reportedly been refusing to answer further questions as police try to work out exactly what went on during the 24 years he admits holding his daughter prisoner along with three of seven children he had with her.

It was also reported that former lodgers at Fritzl’s house said they heard noises coming from the cellar, but did not think anything of it.