Vienna: Natascha Kampusch, who was kidnapped at the age of 10 and held captive for eight and a half years, hit out at the police and their handling of the case in her book which went on sale this week.
"I only learned after my escape just how close the kidnapper could have come to being arrested at the time, if only the matter had really been taken seriously," Kampusch, who is now 22, wrote in the 284-page autobiography entitled `3,096 Days`.
Kampusch, who read extracts from the book in front of some 300 people in a Vienna bookshop last evening, described how as a 10-year-old she was a great fan of TV police series.
And from her underground prison, a tiny cellar measuring just five square metres in the house of her captor Wolfgang Priklopil in Strasshof, a quiet, leafy suburb of Vienna, she would fantasise about how the police were doing everything they could to find and save her, using DNA tracing and items of her clothing.
"But the police were doing nothing of the sort. They apologised to Priklopil and went away again without taking a closer look at his car or his house," she said.
Just days after she disappeared, officers interviewed Priklopil, inspecting the very car he had used to kidnap her and his home, but even when he could not provide an alibi they apparently did not become suspicious or question him more closely.
Kampusch also complained police had treated her like a criminal when she finally escaped in 2006. Crouching terrified in the garden of a neighbouring house in case Priklopil should see her, officers ordered her to "stay where you are and put your hands in the air".