Court rules Josef Fritzl can be moved to normal prison

'Notorious' criminal, now 88, was convicted for raping, committing incest and imprisoning his daughter

Josef Fritzl
Fritzl pictured for the first time in 15 years en route to his hearing
(Image credit: JOE KLAMAR/AFP via Getty Images)

Josef Fritzl, the Austrian who imprisoned his daughter for 24 years, repeatedly raped her and was the father of her seven children, is to be moved from a maximum-security psychiatric unit to a regular prison and in time to a nursing home.

Now 88 and having changed his name to Josef Mayrhoff, he is reportedly suffering from dementia and was seeking early release after serving 15 years of a life sentence in a high-security unit at Stein prison in northeast Austria.

Fritzl was "close to tears" when a three-person panel ruled he could be moved to a nursing home, said The Guardian. However, the "decision was not yet final and requires a further decision to be made by public prosecutors". This is expected to be a "formality", the paper said, but there are still 14 days for the prosecutors to appeal the decision.

Subscribe to The Week

Escape your echo chamber. Get the facts behind the news, plus analysis from multiple perspectives.

SUBSCRIBE & SAVE
https://cdn.mos.cms.futurecdn.net/flexiimages/jacafc5zvs1692883516.jpg

Sign up for The Week's Free Newsletters

From our morning news briefing to a weekly Good News Newsletter, get the best of The Week delivered directly to your inbox.

From our morning news briefing to a weekly Good News Newsletter, get the best of The Week delivered directly to your inbox.

Sign up

The ruling comes after a similar appeal by Fritzl in 2022 was dismissed. He will have to continue to "attend regular psychotherapy and undergo psychiatric evaluations" over a 10-year probation period, said Sky News

Fritzl's abhorrent crimes came to light in 2008 after keeping his daughter Elisabeth captive from the age of 18 in a purpose-built prison he constructed in his cellar at his home in Amstetten. He told his wife Rosemarie her daughter had "left home to join a cult", said The Times. She gave birth to seven of his children, and he was finally caught when one of the children was taken to hospital with a "life-threatening case of kidney failure". His crimes are "among the most notorious cases in 21st-century Europe", the paper said.

Fritzl's lawyer, Astrid Wagner, said she would seek to make a further request next year that he "be released from prison altogether". The court had "come to the conclusion that it is indeed the case that he is no longer dangerous", she said, adding that she would "not be frightened of moving in with him".

To continue reading this article...
Continue reading this article and get limited website access each month.
Get unlimited website access, exclusive newsletters plus much more.
Cancel or pause at any time.
Already a subscriber to The Week?
Not sure which email you used for your subscription? Contact us