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Book recounts horrors of cellar kidnap victim

AN Austrian girl who has suffered sexual, physical and mental torture as a prisoner trapped in a cellar for eight years has come out with an autobiography describing how she was forced to work almost naked, sleep with her captor and beaten 200 times a week.

In her book titled 3,096 Days, Natascha Kampusch said how her kidnapper, Wolfgang Priklopil, who kidnapped her at the age of 10, forced her to share his bed. “When I was 14... I lay stiff with fright on his bed as he lay down next to me and tied my wrists to his with plastic cuffs. I wasn’t allowed to make a sound.

“It wasn’t about sex. The man who’d beat me and locked me in the cellar had something else in mind: he simply wanted something to cuddle,” she wrote about Priklopil, a communications technician.

Kampusch, now 22, who anchors a talk show on Austrian TV, said she tried to commit suicide several times.

In her book, which is being serialised in the Daily Mail, she describes her captor as a person whose “gaze was strangely empty, and who seemed lost and very vulnerable”.

She wrote how she still felt the full impact of her mother’s advice of not talking to strangers.

Kampusch was on her way to school in the town of Donaustadt in 1988 and had recently been allowed to walk to school on her own when Priklopil grabbed her by her waist and threw her into his white delivery van.

Describing her captivity as “a choreography of terror” she said she was kept in a tiny cellar beneath the garage of Priklopil’s home in a suburb of Vienna. She said Priklopil was paranoid about her hair and not the minutest hair was allowed to remain on her scalp.

When Kampusch was 16, her rations were reduced to just a quarter of what an adult needs, as a result her weight dropped and she had constant, gnawing pains.

Priklopil at first was relatively considerate, asking his captive what she needed, but gradually became violent and sexually abusive.

After a year, he forced her to choose a new name in an attempt to diminish her sense of identity.

Malnourished and forced to work as a slave, Kampusch finally managed to flee in August 2006 after she distracted her abductor with the noise of a vacuum cleaner as he took a phone call, then ran to a nearby house to raise the alarm.

A week later, Priklopil, 44, committed suicide while on the run from the police by jumping in front of a train.

Kampusch reportedly signed a deal of $1 million (€800,000) for her book. Although recovered from her ordeal, some scars still remain, which were evident when she bought her captor’s car and house.


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