Cellar monster Josef Fritzl has spoken for the first time of his dream of freedom saying he is “sure” his family will forgive him.
In his first ever tell-all interview from behind bars, the Austrian criminal who fathered seven children with his own caged daughter said apologised for his action but added “I didn’t murder anyone”. He was convicted of “negligent homicide” among his many crimes.
He said he wanted to live to be 130 and detailed the punishing daily fitness regime he endures every day to keep him primed for release – and the unlikely reconciliation with the family he kept underground for 24 years.
And he bizarrely saluted King Charles and Queen Camilla after revealing he was glued to TV coverage of the coronation.
Fritzl, 87, told The Sun in a rambling statement issued through his lawyer Astrid Wagner: “I miss my family very, very much”.
“I am always thinking of them, and how I would like to see my grandchildren.
“But I definitely believe that I am going to see them again one day.
“I am sure that we are going to be reunited and I think they are going to forgive me for what I have done. I’m sure of it.
‘I didn’t murder anyone’
“I regret my crimes and the hurt I have caused” he added.
“I am extremely sorry for what I have done. I would never ever do anything like that again.
“I would just add though, that I didn’t murder anyone or anything like that, so I do reject some of the ways I am sometimes referred to.”
He was sentenced to life imprisonment in 2009 for incest, rape, coercion, false imprisonment, enslavement and for the negligent homicide of one of his infant sons.
Fritzl claimed to have become a changed man since undergoing intensive therapy while behind bars.
The fiend – who has now penned a book called The Abysses of Josef F – told The Sun in a jail: “It has most definitely changed me.
“Through having been incarcerated myself I have developed a deeper appreciation of what this feels like for others.
“Doing therapy has helped me here, and I am very grateful that I got the opportunity to have this therapy.
“It helped me address my feelings of guilt, and also to help me develop and change as a person, and appreciate the perspectives and feelings of victims.”
Electrical engineer Fritzl, locked daughter Elisabeth, now 57, in a cellar where he sexually abused her for 24 years and fathered seven children with her.
Elisabeth was 18 when she disappeared in 1984 and did not re-emerge until 2008 from the dungeon-like basement built by her father under the family home in Amstetten, 130km west of Vienna in Austria.
The abuse resulted in the birth of seven children – three of which remained in captivity with their mother.
One died at the hands of Fritzl, a matter of days after being born, and he disposed of the body in an incinerator.
The other three were brought up Fritzl and his wife Rosemarie, now aged 84, who divorced him after his horrific crimes were laid bare.
In his Sun interview, Fritzl described his regime at grim Stein prison in Krems an der Donau near the Austrian capital – but remained defiantly upbeat in the belief that he will one day walk free.
Describing his daily rigours of his diet and exercise plan, he revealed: “Everyday I start with a coffee. I have to have this wake up properly, then this is quickly followed by a cup of hot cocoa”.
“After this I have tea, and eat three eggs, a piece of toast with ham, and also a sausage and cheese spread, and I make sure to take vitamin C tablets, and magnesium and zinc.”
Deluded Fritzl – who is understood to be suffering from dementia – added: “I also drink lots of water throughout the day. I recently read that it has been scientifically proven that human beings can actually live to 150 if they eat well and exercise.
“So I want to live to 130 – that’s my plan.
Praise for Charles, Camilla
“I’m never lonely. I just don’t have the time. I keep very busy.
“I am either reading or writing or watching TV shows or exercising. I exercise every day and do a very solid, very thorough work out,” he said.
“My spine is extremely supple as a result. I can do the upward facing dog pose easily, but also move like the cobra pose and even some positions many young people cannot do, like the bridge pose.
“It is really quite impressive for someone at my age.”
The incest attacker went on to pay bizarre tribute to King Charles and Camilla – even comparing the royal to his own family.
“I watched the coronation on television. All of it. I think it was splendid.
“I’m a monarchist. I’m a big fan of King Charles. I think it is very, very sad that Diana is no longer around, she was very kind.
“And it is very sad that [she] was not able to be at the coronation too, but I know that Camilla makes King Charles happy as his wife, so that is okay too, as this is what really counts.
“My wife and I also made things work in our own way.”
He has said he wants a reconciliation with his 84-year-old former wife – despite his bizarre claims they are still married even though they divorced 11 years ago.
Fritzl said of his new book: “It is a warning. It is a warning to all about what can happen if you do not deal with the issues you have.
“It is a warning not to do what I did and bottle it all up then later take it out on others.
“I really wrote it from the soul, and I felt a great sense of relief when I had written it.
“I would like it if people could now read it with an open mind and without any sense of prejudice towards me, but I do understand if people feel they are not able to.”
Viennese newspaper Heute reports that Fritzl wrote: “I do understand people who want me to die in jail.
“But I want to experience freedom one day. I’ve never been afraid of dying.”
Reflecting on writing a book with Fritzl, his lawyer Astrid Wagner told Austrian media: “Josef Fritzl sent me a letter from his cell. In it, he wrote that he had written his autobiography.
“He needed help with the publication but also legal assistance. I consented.
“He then sent me the manuscript and I edited it. I’ve been his lawyer ever since.”
Ms Wagner added: “He is polite and very charming.
“Josef Fritzl is only human, not a beast. He is a man who has not mastered his inner demons.”
The lawyer and author said: “He not only lived a double life but a quadruple life in fact.”
She went on to call Fritzl a “master of suppression” and claimed that his “tragic childhood” would have had an impact on his actions.
Fritzl reportedly avoids walking in the jail yard “because there are a few prisoners just waiting to be able to beat me up.”
In June 2022, a court ruled that Fritzl must stay in the high-security prison after judges reversed plans to move him to a softer jail.
Austria’s Higher Regional Court (OLG) in Vienna reversed a decision taken in April 2022 that would have seen Fritzl being moved to a regular prison.
Instead, the 87-year-old will serve more time in the high-security prison for mentally ill criminals.
The Krems regional court confirmed the decision, saying: “The Higher Regional Court (OLG) Vienna has recognised the need for further accommodation in an institution for mentally abnormal law-breakers.”
The correctional court responsible for Stein Prison – Austria’s most secure psychiatric jail – had decided in April 2022 to release Fritzl and move him.
He was due to be released into a normal prison where he could even have been eligible for early release.
But the move was blocked when the Krems public prosecutor’s office lodged a complaint, backed by senior judges in Vienna. They stated that the decision to keep Fritzl at the high-security psychiatric prison was justified because he still suffers from a non-treatable serious mental illness.
This story was first published in The Sun and was redistributed with permission.