'My dream is to get out alive' – Fritzl speaks of his family and infamy

Josef Fritzl, the Austrian who held his daughter in a cellar for 24 years and raped her thousands of times, boasted that he was "world famous" and claimed he felt "love" for his victim yesterday in his first interview since his imprisonment more than a year ago.

Fritzl, 75, made his remarks to reporters from Germany's mass circulation Bild newspaper. The reporters spent over an hour with Fritzl inside Austria's top-security Stein prison, where he is being held with 89 other inmates in a section for mentally abnormal criminals. Dressed in a grey patterned flannel shirt, jeans and sandals, he shook hands with the reporters and introduced himself by saying: "Josef Fritzl, good day." Then he added: "But you know me – I am world famous!"

Fritzl was sentenced to life imprisonment in March last year after being convicted of rape, slavery, imprisonment and negligent homicide. He kidnapped his daughter, Elisabeth, when she was 16 and held her in a purpose-built cellar beneath his home in the Austrian town of Amstetten.

During her 24-year imprisonment, Elisabeth Fritzl, now 43, was raped more than 3,000 times. She gave birth to seven children. One of them died as a result of breathing difficulties shortly after birth. Fritzl incinerated the body in a stove to destroy the evidence.

Fritzl broke down and wept, subsequently confessing to his crimes after his daughter confronted him in a closed court session during his trial. He said he felt nothing but remorse for what he had done.

However, Bild's reporters concluded after their prison interview that Fritzl remained an incorrigible criminal who lacked insight into his crimes. The reporters said he had built a wall around himself to keep out the truth.

Bild's reporters also tried to ask him how he felt about what he had done. At first, he insisted: "I don't want to talk about that." Then they asked him: "What do you feel about your daughter who you chained to a bed?" Fritzl mumbled the word "love" to indicate his feelings.

"We reporters were left speechless," said Bild. "But then Fritzl went on to talk about his wife as if he were a completely normal husband," the newspaper added.

"I wrote her eight letters, but I never got an answer," Fritzl said of his wife, Rosemary, who divorced him after his conviction. "My dream is that I will get out of here alive. I want to look after my wife again because she was always loyal to me."

None of Fritzl's 13 children, who include six born in his cellar, have chosen to visit him since his imprisonment. Bild said that part of his fantasy was his insistence that the authorities were deliberately preventing his children from visiting him.

Elisabeth Fritzl is trying to build a new life for herself and her children. She lives with them in a house at a secret location near Amstetten. She is also reported to have begun a relationship with one of the security guards who watch over her and her family.

Her father spoke about his humdrum existence in Stein prison, where he inhabits an 11.5 square metre cell overlooking surrounding vineyards. He is awoken at 5.30am, showers, exercises, then cleans prison floors. During his hourly walks in the prison yard, he is always guarded by two warders because of fears that fellow inmates will attack him.

He grows tomatoes and peppers in his cell and spends much of the time watching television. He said his favourite programme was Charlie Sheen's comedy series Two and a Half Men. "The small boy reminds me of my son," Fritzl said.

"It loosens me up and makes me laugh. Being dead sad all the time destroys the soul," he added.

Suggested Topics
Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
Barn owls are among species that could be affected
charity appeal
After another poor series in Sri Lanka, Alastair Cook claimed all players go through a lean period
cricketEoin Morgan reportedly to take over ODI captaincy as ECB finally wield the axe
Arts and Entertainment
a clockwork orange, stanley kubrick
news... you won't believe how bad their skills were
ebooksA year of political gossip, levity and intrigue from the sharpest pen in Westminster
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Finance Director

£65000 - £80000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Finance Director required to jo...

Recruitment Genius: Medico-Legal Assistant

£15000 - £25000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is a unique opportunity fo...

Ashdown Group: (PHP / Python) - Global Media firm

£50000 per annum + 26 days holiday,pension: Ashdown Group: A highly successful...

The Jenrick Group: Quality Inspector

£27000 per annum + pension + holidays: The Jenrick Group: A Quality Technician...

Day In a Page

Homeless Veterans appeal: 'You look for someone who's an inspiration and try to be like them'

Homeless Veterans appeal

In 2010, Sgt Gary Jamieson stepped on an IED in Afghanistan and lost his legs and an arm. He reveals what, and who, helped him to make a remarkable recovery
Could cannabis oil reverse the effects of cancer?

Could cannabis oil reverse effects of cancer?

As a film following six patients receiving the controversial treatment is released, Kate Hilpern uncovers a very slippery issue
The Interview movie review: You can't see Seth Rogen and James Franco's Kim Jong Un assassination film, but you can read about it here

The Interview movie review

You can't see Seth Rogen and James Franco's Kim Jong Un assassination film, but you can read about it here
Serial mania has propelled podcasts into the cultural mainstream

How podcasts became mainstream

People have consumed gripping armchair investigation Serial with a relish typically reserved for box-set binges
Jesus Christ has become an unlikely pin-up for hipster marketing companies

Jesus Christ has become an unlikely pin-up

Kevin Lee Light, aka "Jesus", is the newest client of creative agency Mother while rival agency Anomaly has launched Sexy Jesus, depicting the Messiah in a series of Athena-style poses
Rosetta space mission voted most important scientific breakthrough of 2014

A memorable year for science – if not for mice

The most important scientific breakthroughs of 2014
Christmas cocktails to make you merry: From eggnog to Brown Betty and Rum Bumpo

Christmas cocktails to make you merry

Mulled wine is an essential seasonal treat. But now drinkers are rediscovering other traditional festive tipples. Angela Clutton raises a glass to Christmas cocktails
5 best activity trackers

Fitness technology: 5 best activity trackers

Up the ante in your regimen and change the habits of a lifetime with this wearable tech
Paul Scholes column: It's a little-known fact, but I have played one of the seven dwarves

Paul Scholes column

It's a little-known fact, but I have played one of the seven dwarves
Fifa's travelling circus once again steals limelight from real stars

Fifa's travelling circus once again steals limelight from real stars

Club World Cup kicked into the long grass by the continued farce surrounding Blatter, Garcia, Russia and Qatar
Frank Warren column: 2014 – boxing is back and winning new fans

Frank Warren: Boxing is back and winning new fans

2014 proves it's now one of sport's biggest hitters again
Jeb Bush vs Hillary Clinton: The power dynamics of the two first families

Jeb Bush vs Hillary Clinton

Karen Tumulty explores the power dynamics of the two first families
Stockholm is rivalling Silicon Valley with a hotbed of technology start-ups

Stockholm is rivalling Silicon Valley

The Swedish capital is home to two of the most popular video games in the world, as well as thousands of technology start-ups worth hundreds of millions of pounds – and it's all happened since 2009
Did Japanese workers really get their symbols mixed up and display Santa on a crucifix?

Crucified Santa: Urban myth refuses to die

The story goes that Japanese store workers created a life-size effigy of a smiling "Father Kurisumasu" attached to a facsimile of Our Lord's final instrument of torture
Jennifer Saunders and Kate Moss join David Walliams on set for TV adaptation of The Boy in the Dress

The Boy in the Dress: On set with the stars

Walliams' story about a boy who goes to school in a dress will be shown this Christmas