Josef Fritzl regrets all of his crimes and believes family will forgive him
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The man who raped and fathered seven children with his own daughter while keeping her captive in a cage has said he regrets his crimes and believes his family will forgive him.
Josef Fritzl, from Austria, has given his first interview from behind bars after he was sentenced to life imprisonment in 2009.
The electrical engineer locked up his daughter Elisabeth Fritzl aged 18 in 1984 in a cellar beneath the family’s home in Amstetten, Austria, where he sexually abused her for 24 years.
The abuse began when Elisabeth - who is now 57 - was 11 years old.
Three of the children born during Elisabeth’s captivity remained in the cellar with their mother. One of the twin boys Elisabeth gave birth to in April 1996 died days after birth and was cremated by his father and grandfather.
The other three surviving babies were raised by Fritzl and his wife at the time, who later divorced him after his crimes were revealed. He claimed the children were foundlings.
Elisabeth did not re-emerge until 2008 when Fritzl rushed her daughter Kerstin to hospital.
Doctors at the Amstetten-Mauer clinic noticed that Kerstin was in a critical condition and her symptoms suggested she had been neglected.
Fritzl then released Elisabeth, and an anonymous tip-off when she was visiting the hospital alerted the police and Fritzl and his daughter were eventually taken into custody, where she revealed her decades-long imprisonment during questioning.
Fritzl was arrested and in March 2009, following a four-day trial, he plead guilty to the charges of murder by negligence of his infant son and grandson Michael and decades of enslavement, incest, rape, coercion and false imprisonment of his daughter.
Over 14 years after he was convicted, Fritzl issued a ‘rambling statement’ via his lawyer, Astrid Wagner, to The Sun in which he says he will be reunited with his family.
He said: “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 regret my crimes and the hurt I have caused.”
He told the Sun he is a changed man after having intensive therapy while imprisoned: “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.
“Doing therapy has helped me here, and I am very grateful that I got the opportunity to have this therapy."
Now 87, Fritzl will serve the remainder of his days in Austria's most secure psychiatric jail - Stein Prison in Krems an der Donau. He still believes he will be released one day.