I love my daughter and dream of getting out of jail, says defiant Josef Fritzl in his first interview from behind bars
1st November 2010
Monster who raped daughter for 24 years and enslaved children in cellar spoke with 'strong voice'
75-year-old has written to ex-wife Rosemary and 'knows that she still loves me'
Defiant and unbowed, the man who the world regards as a monster for imprisoning and raping his own daughter for 24 years says he still 'loves' his victim.
Josef Fritzl blurted out the word just once about his daughter Elisabeth before changing the subject to talk about his fantasies of starting life anew with his ex-wife.
Fritzl, 75, stunned reporters from Germany’s top selling Bild newspaper as 18 months into a life sentence has done nothing to make him see the enormity of his crimes.
Bild described Fritzl’s voice in the eight-metre square visitor room that is reached by seven locked doors as 'strong, no longer quiet and fragile as it was at his trial.'
Fritzl, who was sentenced to life in April last year on charges of rape, slavery, imprisonment and negligent homicide over the death of one of the seven children his captive daughter bore him in the dungeon he created beneath his house, broke down in court when Elisabeth, 43, unexpectedly turned up to watch what he said.
For a brief moment only, Fritzl suddenly became the man he ought to have been, changed his plea to guilty on all charges and choked back tears as he was led away to begin his punishment.
Fritzl fathered seven children by Elisabeth one of whom died shortly after birth. He burnt the body in an oven.
Three incest children - Lisa, now 16, Monika, 15, and Alexander, 13 - were removed by Fritzl to be brought up with him and his wife: the so-called 'upstairs children'.
Elisabeth survived in the dungeon with the 'downstairs' children - daughter Kerstin, now 21, Stefan, 19, and Felix, seven, until Kerstin became dangerously ill, was taken to hospital and the cellar and its secrets were exposed.
Now, dressed in jeans and a flannel shirt, with his long white hair combed down the back of his neck - 'I hate hairdressers more than I hate dentists' - Fritzl displayed all the arrogance and menace of old as he talked with Bild in the maximum security jail where, in all probability, he will die.
'Josef Fritzl, good day,' he said, as he shook their hands. 'But you know that - I am world famous!'
Asked the burning question - did he regret what he did - Bild reports, 'Fritzl’s smile disappears. “‘I don’t want to talk about that.’”
BILD; ‘What about the daughter you chained to a bed?' The hands that built the cellar cramp up briefly. Then the man who man, who raped his own daughter 3,000 times, spoke of 'love.'
‘Love. We reporters were left speechless.'
But then Fritzl went on to speak about his wife as if he is a completely normal husband.
‘I wrote her eight letters,’ he says. ‘I never got an answer. But I know that she loves me still,’ he says of wife Rosemary who has divorced him since his conviction.
Bild went on: ‘He puts his wedding ring down. “I have a fear that someone will steal her while I am in here.”
‘At night he often thinks of his wife. “My dream is that I will get out of here alive. I want to look after my wife again because she always displayed loyalty to me.”
He enjoys watching U.S. comedy Two And A Half Me because the 'young kid in it reminds me of my son'
But none of his 13 children, including the six incest survivors from the cellar, have ever visited him at Stein jail, home to 900 convicts, 90 of whom are regarded as 'incurable' - Fritzl among them.
Yet he remains convinced they want to seem him - but are thwarted.
‘My children are intercepted by the institute before they can come to me,’ he bleated.
Home for Fritzl is an 11.5 sq metre cell with a view of surrounding vineyards. ‘His incest children did not have such a view,’ said Bild.
Fritzl grows peppers and tomatoes in his cell.
He has a colour TV that receives 38 channels and his favourite programme is Charlie Sheen’s comedy Two And A Half Men. ‘The young kid in it reminds me of my son,.’ he said.
‘It loosens me up, makes me break out with laughter. It destroys the soul if one is always deathly sad.‘
A day in the life of Josef Fritzl starts at 5.30am with a shower. Then he has half an hour of exercise before he mops the corridors of the jail.
At 9.00am he rides an exercise bike for an hour and at 10.00am prepares his tableware for lunch at 11.00am. In the afternoon he rests or walks in the prison yard for an hour - always guarded by two turnkeys.
‘Two prison officials are always with me because of my status as a sex criminal inside,’ he said. ‘They are afraid for my life.’
Bild said it spent 70 minutes with him - and declared him a completely unreformed character who has built his own version of the truth which he hides behind.
It is known that he has sent letters to Elisabeth asking her for money, but they always go unanswered.
She is building a new life with the cellar survivors and is in a relationship with a man originally assigned to guard her.