Former sex slave still tidies captor's house

Top: The room in Strasshof in Niederoestereich (Lower Austria), where Ms Kampusch was held for eight years by her kidnapper. Left: Ms Kampusch during the presentation of her new book 10 Jahre Freiheit (10 Years' Freedom) on Aug 17, marking the 10th a
The room in Strasshof in Niederoestereich (Lower Austria), where Ms Kampusch was held for eight years by her kidnapper.PHOTOS: EUROPEAN PRESSPHOTO AGENCY, AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE
Undated file photo of Wolfgang Priklopil distributed by the Austrian police.
Undated file photo of Wolfgang Priklopil distributed by the Austrian police. PHOTOS: EUROPEAN PRESSPHOTO AGENCY, AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE

Austrian woman kidnapped in 1998 aged 10 and held for 8 years

VIENNA • An Austrian woman held captive for years in a suburban house cellar near Vienna still cleans the house, spends weekends there and refuses to sell it in case it is turned into a tourist attraction.

Ms Natascha Kampusch was only 10 years old when she was abducted by Wolfgang Priklopil and, for almost a decade, was his sex slave.

But she has told an Australian TV programme that after inheriting the property where she was beaten and starved, she does not want it to become a "theme park".

And there are legal difficulties stopping her from demolishing it.

She said: "I am not allowed to because there are many bureaucratic hurdles."

Ms Kampusch took the Seven Network programme Sunday Night on a tour of the house, except for the custom-made dungeon which she said the local authorities had ordered her to have it filled in.

 Ms Kampusch during the presentation of her new book 10 Jahre Freiheit (10 Years' Freedom) on Aug 17, marking the 10th a
Ms Kampusch during the presentation of her new book 10 Jahre Freiheit (10 Years’ Freedom) on Aug 17, marking the 10th anniversary of her escape from her captor.

Now 28, she discovered that her kidnapper had bequeathed the home to her before committing suicide after her escape 10 years ago, said the programme screened on Sunday.

The escape made world headlines, although not everyone believed Ms Kampusch's survival story.

"Wasn't it enough that I was kidnapped? Wasn't it enough? They want an ongoing story. They have no conscience," she said on the show. She added: "I think it is not easy to go there... I am emotional."

ABDUCTED ON WAY TO SCHOOL

He grabbed me by the waist and threw me into the open door into his delivery van, everything happened in one fell swoop. I was well aware of the fact that I had been kidnapped, and that I would probably die. ''

MS NATASCHA KAMPUSCH, who was only 10 when she was abducted by Wolfgang Priklopil.

SPLIT PERSONALITY

He had two parts in his personality. I call the one part the dark side, and the other part the bright side, and it was like a schizophrenic personality... ''

MS KAMPUSCH, on her kidnapper.

MENTALLY STRONG

The secret of my survival was that I forgave the perpetrator... and to have this hope that maybe I can free myself in the future.'' 

MS KAMPUSCH, on how she survived for years as a sex slave.

NOT BELIEVED BY EVERYONE 

Wasn't it enough that I was kidnapped? Wasn't it enough? They want an ongoing story. They have no conscience. '' 

MS KAMPUSCH, on those who are sceptical about her ordeal.

Ms Kampusch's life changed forever when she walked alone to school on March 2, 1998, after an argument with her mother who had split up with her father.

"He (Priklopil) grabbed me by the waist and threw me into the open door into his delivery van, everything happened in one fell swoop," she told the Seven Network reporter. "I was well aware of the fact that I had been kidnapped, and that I would probably die."

Priklopil, an unmarried IT specialist, locked the girl in a 5 sq m cellar he constructed with walls half a metre thick, sealed by a steel and concrete door weighing 150kg.

Ms Kampusch told the programme that he was a sadistic control freak who relentlessly abused her and forced her to be his slave.

"He had this problem with cleaning," she said. "That was very important to him (to clean)."

Ten years on, she still cleans the house from top to bottom.

Eventually, Priklopil began taking Ms Kampusch upstairs, and forced her to sleep in his bed. During the day, he used her as a domestic slave and abused her or withheld food as punishment. Ms Kampusch pretended to fall in love with her captor and, in return, he began making concessions - even taking her on a brief skiing trip.

"He had two parts in his personality. I call the one part the dark side, and the other part the bright side, and it was like a schizophrenic personality...," she said.

"The secret of my survival was that I forgave the perpetrator...and to have this hope that maybe I can free myself in the future."

On Aug 23, 2006, Priklopil left the gate unlocked while he answered the phone and Ms Kampusch made her escape.

Priklopil committed suicide by throwing himself under a train before police could arrest him.

"A normal man wouldn't be able to do this. I am sure he had...problems, and with himself, and with his personality. He was a victim, too, I think," she said.

She went on to write about her ordeal in a book titled 3,096 Days, later adapted into a film, 3096. She launched a personal website, was briefly a TV talk-show host and has been a spokesman for an animal-rights group.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on September 27, 2016, with the headline 'Former sex slave still tidies captor's house'. Print Edition | Subscribe