Dean Dunham 9pm - 10pm
Josef Fritzl pictured out of jail for first time in 15 years as he makes bid to be released to nursing home
25 January 2024, 10:04
Josef Fritzl has been pictured out of prison ahead of his potential release to a nursing home.
Listen to this article
The Austrian was convicted of raping his daughter Elisabeth and having seven children with her as he locked her in his basement for 24 years.
The 88-year-old has applied to leave jail on the grounds of old age and dementia and is eligible for parole in March. He is now set to be transferred to a normal prison from Garsten Abbey jail, which is designed for mentally ill inmates.
He was said to be "close to tears" as he was granted conditional release to the regular prison after a hearing at a court in Krems. That could be a stepping stone to moving into a care home.
Fritzl, who was jailed for life in 2009 after pleading guilty to murder by negligence of one of the children, enslavement, incest, rape, coercion and false imprisonment, was pictured on Thursday morning wearing a denim jacket as he sat in a car with his hand over his head on the way to court.
It was the first time he was pictured for 15 years.
Astrid Wagner, his lawyer, said: "We were successful. It was a long hearing. He said once again how he regrets what he did.
"He was actually close to tears. In summary, the court came to the conclusion that my client is no longer considered to be dangerous."
She had previously argued he did not pose a threat to society anymore and said that while he could be moved to a normal prison he should be sent to a care home for the rest of his life.
Fritzl kept his daughter imprisoned in the basement of his house in Amstetten for 24 years, raising three of the children with his wife Rosemarie.
Fritzl had convinced her Elisabeth had run away to join a sect and the children were left behind because she didn't want them to join her.
He was arrested in 2008 after being forced to take one of the children to hospital. Elisabeth said he had held her since she was 18, having lured her to the basement.
He now has dementia and cognitive confusion, leaving him believing he is a pop star, according to Heidi Kastner, a forensic psychiatrist.
Last year, he issued bizarre statements from jail in which he said he wanted to be freed and for decades more.
"I recently read that it has been scientifically proven that human beings can actually live to 150 if they eat well and exercise," he told The Sun last year.
"So I want to live to 130 - that's my plan."
And he claimed he receives hundreds of letters from fans.