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Europe

Court sets date for trial of rapist father Josef Fritzl

Latest update : 2009-01-22

The trial of Josef Fritzl, who abused his daughter while holding her captive in a cellar for 24 years, will begin on March 16 in the Austrian town of St. Poelten. Charges include murder, rape, sequestration, incest, grievous assault and slavery.

AFP - The trial of an Austrian man accused of holding his daughter captive and raping her over 24 years, will begin on March 16, the court in St. Poelten said Thursday.

Josef Fritzl's trial will last about a week but no date has yet been set for the verdict, court spokesman Franz Cutka told AFP.

The beginning of proceedings will be open to the public and media but later access will depend on further developments in the case, he added.

Fritzl, 73, confessed to holding his daughter Elisabeth in a cellar for 24 years and fathering seven children with her.

But he has denied any responsibility in the death of one of the babies shortly after birth. He later burnt the body in a wood-fired boiler in the cellar.

Three of the children were brought up by Fritzl and his wife, but the other three spent their entire lives in the cellar with their mother, never seeing daylight until they were released last April.

Fritzl, who is being held at St. Poelten prison, has been charged with murder, rape, sequestration, incest, grievous assault and slavery. If convicted, he could face life in prison.

Date created : 2009-01-22