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TIMELINE: Austria's Josef Fritzl incest case
March 19, 2009 / 2:53 PM / 9 years ago

TIMELINE: Austria's Josef Fritzl incest case

(Reuters) - Josef Fritzl was sentenced to life in a psychiatric institution on Thursday for locking up and raping his daughter over 24 years, fathering seven children with her, and causing the death of an infant son.

Below is a timeline of events, based on a police account of Fritzl’s confession, and information from the prosecutor and court:

1984 - Josef Fritzl lures his 18-year-old daughter Elisabeth into the cellar of his house, drugs her and locks her up.

From about 1989 to 2003 - Elisabeth gives birth to seven children fathered by Josef. One of them dies shortly after birth in 1996. Fritzl burns his body in a furnace.

1993 - Fritzl leaves a child on the doorstep of his house and forces Elisabeth to write a note saying she can’t care for the baby. Two other children are later left in a similar way. Fritzl tells his wife Elisabeth has run off to join a sect.

1994 - Fritzl pretends to be Elisabeth in a phone call to his wife Rosemarie, telling her not to look for her. Rosemarie tells the police about the call from her “daughter” but they do not investigate further.

April 2008 - The cellar is discovered after one of the captive children, Kerstin, is rushed to hospital. Fritzl is arrested and confesses to imprisonment and incest, later proven by DNA tests.

June 2008 - Kerstin is revived from an artificial coma and joins her mother and siblings. They move to a secret location and are given new identities.

October 2008 - A psychiatric assessment shows Fritzl was aware of his actions during the 24-year period and is fit for trial despite a severe personality disorder.

November 2008 - Prosecutors charge Fritzl with murder, rape, enslavement, incest, coercion and deprivation of liberty.

March 16, 2009 - Fritzl goes on trial in a provincial court in St Poelten near Vienna, pleading guilty to rape and incest but denying murder in connection with the death of a newborn boy who died underground.

March 18 - Fritzl pleads guilty to murder and enslavement, reversing an innocent plea on the charges.

March 19 - Court sentences Fritzl to life in a psychiatric institution.

Compiled by Sylvia Westall

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