Josef Fritzl could be moved to care home – reports

Josef Fritzl
Image caption,Josef Fritzl kept his daughter in a cellar for 24 years and fathered seven children with her

By Bethany Bell

BBC News in Vienna

Josef Fritzl, the Austrian sex offender who locked his daughter in a cellar for 24 years and fathered seven children with her, could be moved from a high-security prison, local media reports.

Fritzl, now 88, was jailed for life in 2009 in a case that shocked the world.

Austrian public broadcaster ORF reports that a new psychiatric report on Fritzl, who has dementia, says he no longer poses a danger to the public.

It means a court may now decide whether to move him to a normal prison.

Fritzl is being held in a high-security institution for mentally disturbed offenders in Stein Prison, in the town of Krems an der Donau.

In Austria, those sentenced to life in prison can apply for conditional release after serving 15 years – under this law, Fritzl is eligible for parole this year.

Legal experts say conditional release is also a possibility, which means Fritzl, who has since changed his name, could be moved into a care home.

It is “quite obvious that a dismissal will be announced”, Alois Birklbauer, professor of criminal law at the Johannes Kepler University in Linz, told ORF.

In 2022, a regional court ruled Fritzl was “no longer a danger” and could be moved to a standard jail – but the Higher Regional Court in Vienna later blocked the decision.

The Fritzl case, which emerged in the town of Amstetten in 2008, has been described as one of the worst in Austria’s criminal history.

He was convicted of murdering one of his children through neglect, as well as rape, incest, and enslaving his daughter.

Fritzl’s daughter and her children have since taken on new identities.

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