Convicted Austrian Inmate, Josef Fritzl, Nears Release to Nursing Home After 15 Years

AMSTETTEN, Austria – Josef Fritzl, the Austrian man who held his own daughter captive for 24 years, will be transferred from a prison psychiatric unit to a regular prison, paving the way for his eventual release to a nursing home. This decision comes 15 years after his conviction for rape and imprisonment. Fritzl’s lawyer, Astrid Wagner, revealed that he had applied for early release on the grounds of his old age and dementia.

The panel of three female judges at Krems regional court made the decision, which is still pending final confirmation from public prosecutors. However, it is expected that the transfer to a nursing home will proceed as a formality. Upon hearing the news, Fritzl, 88, was reportedly moved to tears.

For the first time in 15 years, Fritzl was photographed being driven to court. He appeared in the back seat of a car wearing a denim jacket and fastened with a seatbelt. Outside the court, his lawyer Wagner expressed satisfaction with the decision, stating that the court concluded that Fritzl is no longer considered dangerous and regrets his actions.

In 2009, Fritzl, an electrical engineer, was sentenced to life imprisonment for the rape, incest, and incarceration of his daughter, Elisabeth. During her captivity, Elisabeth bore seven children with Fritzl, one of whom died due to lack of medical attention. A recent psychiatric report deemed Fritzl no longer a threat to society, suggesting the possibility of his relocation to a normal prison. However, due to his dementia, his lawyer advocates for him to spend his remaining days in a care home.

The horrifying case came to light in 2008 when Elisabeth managed to contact the police, revealing her captive state after 24 years underground. Fritzl had constructed a purpose-built prison beneath their family home in Amstetten. He had deceived his wife and acquaintances, claiming that Elisabeth had run away to join a cult.

Renowned Austrian psychiatrist Heidi Kastner, who previously characterized Fritzl as “extremely psychologically abnormal” and “emotionally illiterate,” has since issued a 28-page report stating that he is no longer a danger. Describing him as physically frail and suffering from dementia, Kastner’s report supports the idea of Fritzl’s conditional discharge.

Fritzl is currently in a high-security unit for mentally disturbed patients at Stein prison in Krems. Under Austrian law, prisoners can be eligible for conditional release after 15 years, which in Fritzl’s case would have been in 2023.

Fritzl’s lawyer has visited him 40 times and even wrote a book about him, titled “The Abysses of Josef F.” According to her, Fritzl spends his days watching television, sunning himself through the prison bars, and exercising. She stated that she would not be afraid to live next to him in a care home, as he no longer possesses a sex drive.

It is clear that the Fritzl case shocked and horrified the world, revealing the depths of human depravity and the resilience of the human spirit. As Fritzl’s release to a nursing home appears to be imminent, many are left with mixed emotions about the future of this notorious criminal.