Josef Fritzl undergoes psychological tests to determine whether or not he can be FREED from prison after serving 15 years for keeping his daughter as a sex slave for 24 years
- Fritzl, 86, kept his daughter Elisabeth locked in a dungeon from 1984-2008
- He raped her thousands of times and fathered seven children with her
- Fritzl was jailed for life in 2008 but could be eligible for release after 2024
- He is undergoing psychiatric assessments to determine his state of mind
- It is highly unlikely he will pass the tests, or that a judge would grant his freedom
- But if freed in 2024, he will have spent less time in captivity than his daughter
A psychiatric expert is set to decide if Josef Fritzl, who fathered several children with his captive daughter after imprisoning her in a basement dungeon for 24 years, should walk free.
Fritzl, 86, kept his daughter Elisabeth locked in a soundproof dungeon beneath the family home in Amstetten, Austria, raping her more than 3,000 times and fathering seven children with her between 1984-2008.
Her ordeal finally came to an end in April 2008, when their sick teenage daughter Kerstin had to be taken to hospital. Fritzl was jailed on March 19, 2009.
Fritzl is serving a life sentence, but may be eligible to apply for early release in 2024 if he is deemed no longer a danger, because he will have served 15 years for his crimes.
If he is allowed to walk free, he will have spent less time in captivity than his daughter by almost a decade.
Josef Fritzl, who kept his daughter in a cellar for 24 years and fathered seven children by her, was jailed for life on March 19, 2009 (pictured at sentencing), but could now potentially apply for early release
Elisabeth Fritzl (pictured here as a child in an undated photo) has not had any contact with her father since he was jailed and lives under a new alias in an unknown part of Austria with the children conceived during the decades her own father brutally raped her.
Earlier this year, the Regional Court of Krems in Lower Austria decided that it would move Fritzl from a special unit for the criminally insane in Krems-Stein prison to the regular prison system.
This, in turn, would mean that after having served 15 years of his sentence, he would be able to apply for early release.
But the public prosecutor’s office was opposed to this plan and immediately appealed the decision.
Now, the Higher Regional Court has taken over the case and appointed an expert to examine Fritzl in an effort to determine his psychiatric and neurological condition after more than ten years in prison, much of which has been spent separated from other inmates.
If the expert detects any abnormalities, Fritzl will have to remain in the prison system and will not be eligible to ask for early release.
However, if the expert deems that the 86-year-old is of ‘sound mind’, then one of Europe’s most notorious criminals could be released from prison as early as 2024.
Fritzl pictured at Sankt Poelten prison where he was previously held, in 2010
A photo taken by a forensic team and released by the Austrian police with permission of Austria’s prosecution office on April 28, 2008 shows a view into a hidden room in a house in Amstetten, Austria, where Fritzl kept his daughter Elisabeth captive for 24 years
Vice President of the Krems Regional Court, Ferdinand Schuster, said the expert’s opinion is expected by the end of January, though the chances of Fritzl receiving a clean bill of mental health, and judges subsequently granting him freedom, are extremely slim.
Aside from the heinous crimes he committed over a period of 24 years on his daughter, it was reported in 2019 that Fritzl, then 84, was exhibiting signs of dementia and that his mental health was deteriorating.
He was said to be extremely unpopular with other inmates at the Krems-Stein prison and spent much of his time in solitary confinement.
Meanwhile, Elisabeth Fritzl has not had any contact with her father since he was jailed and lives under a new alias in an unknown part of Austria with the children conceived during the decades her own father brutally raped her.
Fritzl’s horrific crimes were only discovered when one of the children, Kerstin, slipped into a coma and he took her to hospital where doctors noted her malnourished condition and rotting teeth.
When Elisabeth, now 55, was given permission to finally leave the dungeon to visit Kerstin in hospital, she was arrested and subsequently told the police about the horrific crimes her father had committed.
Fritzl said during his trial that he ‘actually meant well’ before being jailed.
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