Austrian kidnap victim details ordeal in new book

An Austrian woman kidnapped at age 10 says she was repeatedly beaten, starved and forced to do housework half-naked during her 8 1/2 years at the mercy of a man who admired Hitler and considered himself an Egyptian god.

Last Updated: Sep 08, 2010, 20:57 PM IST

Vienna: An Austrian woman kidnapped at age
10 says she was repeatedly beaten, starved and forced to do
housework half-naked during her 8 1/2 years at the mercy of a
man who admired Hitler and considered himself an Egyptian god.

In a new book about her ordeal, Natascha Kampusch also
describes how her abductor, Wolfgang Priklopil, shaved off all
her hair and shackled her to him on his bed once she turned
14.

Priklopil snatched Kampusch off a Vienna street on her
way to school in 1998 and held her prisoner in a dungeon under
his suburban home until she fled in August 2006. He committed
suicide within hours of her escape. The case horrified
Austrians and made headlines around the world.

In "3,096 Days," penned with the help of two authors,
Kampusch describes Priklopil as a paranoid, unpredictable and
cleanliness-obsessed man who systematically tormented her
physically and verbally.

"In many respects, the kidnapper was a beast and more
cruel than can possibly be depicted," Kampusch wrote,
according to an English edition to be released September 16 in
Britain.

Over the years, he attacked her using not only his
hands and feet but also a sack of cement, pruning shears and
even a crowbar.

"Sometimes he beat me so long it felt like hours,"
Kampusch wrote.

Priklopil found other ways to humiliate her.
"In the house I always had to work half-naked, and in
the garden I was principally not allowed to wear any
knickers," Kampusch wrote. "It was one of the ways to keep me
down."

He also deprived her of food, telling her she was fat
and ugly.

"The kidnapper knew precisely which buttons he had to
push to land blows to my self esteem, and he pressed them
mercilessly," wrote Kampusch, who weighed a mere 38 kilograms
at age 16.

Kampusch describes how, as a teenager, she spent
nights in Priklopil`s bed with her wrists tied to his.

"The man who beat me, locked me in the cellar and
starved me, wanted to cuddle," she wrote.

She also recalled the horror of having her hair shaved
off because Priklopil considered every single strand a danger,
to be potentially used by police to trace her.

"Not even the minutest hair was allowed to remain
anywhere."

The now 22-year-old was later allowed to grow out her
hair but had to die it "peroxide blond" to conform to her
captor`s image of the ideal woman: "obedient, hardworking,
blond."

PTI