The 19-year-old daughter of Austria's multiple rape and incest offender Josef Fritzl has had an emotional reunion with her family after waking from the seven-week coma she lapsed into following her escape from lifelong imprisonment in a cellar beneath her father's home.
Kerstin Fritzl, who is the oldest child to result from her father's 24-year-long incestuous relationship with his daughter Elisabeth, 42, was put into an artificial coma at the end of April after she was delivered to a clinic near her underground prison because of fears that she was dying.
But yesterday doctors were able to report that she had woken successfully from her artificially induced unconsciousness, had been reunited with her family, and wanted nothing more from life than to go to a Robbie Williams concert and take a ride on a boat. Christoph Herbst, the Fritzl lawyer, described the reunion: "They are all overjoyed to be together for the first time ever," he said. "There is this incredibly intense feeling of coming together, the sense of group identity is almost palpable."
Dr Albert Reiter, the head of the intensive care unit at the clinic in the town of Amstetten where Kerstin is being treated, told a packed press conference how his patient had been weaned off the drugs that had kept her in a coma and how she had opened her eyes for the first time in mid-May.
Describing what happened after he removed the last tubes from her mouth that were used to feed her during her coma, he said: "She awoke fully on 1 June. I said, 'Hello, Kerstin' and she simply replied 'Hello' back, but for me it was an extremely moving moment and the end of a long journey of suffering."
Last Sunday, Kerstin was reunited with her mother, grandmother and five brothers and sisters who are also under care at the clinic where they are living in a special hospital apartment. Dr Reiter, who reunited Kerstin with her family, said: "I was deeply moved to be linking arms with Kerstin and going with her across the threshold of this new apartment and into a new life," he said.
Dr Reiter said Kerstin had made a rapid recovery from an illness which had caused her to suffer fits and rendered her unconscious. He said that, after she awoke, she was visited by her mother, Elisabeth, who had disguised herself by wearing a nurse's uniform to avoid being noticed by the media or other hospital patients. Kerstin had listened to Robbie Williams hits until late into the night during her recovery.
"We expect Kerstin to recover completely and develop normally. She can read and write well and has said she would like to go to a Robbie Williams concert and go for a ride on a boat," Dr Reiter said.
Kerstin Fritzl's escape to hospital from lifelong imprisonment beneath her 73-year-old father's home, triggered the police investigation which brought Austria's worst recorded case of multiple rape and incest to light 24 years after it began.Reuse content