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Eight years in dungeon: Girl tells her morbid tale

A girl in Austria, who was locked up in a dungeon where she suffered physical and sexual abuses for eight years, has revealed opened up about her trauma and suffering in her book 3096 Days.

books Updated: Sep 06, 2010 18:04 IST
IANS
Natascha Kampusch

A girl in Austria, who was locked up in a dungeon where she suffered physical and sexual abuses for eight years, has revealed she was beaten black and blue and forced to share bed with her captor.

In her autobiography, 3096 Days, Natascha Kampusch tells how she was kept in a 'hermetically sealed' dungeon, beaten 'black and blue', forced to sleep manacled to her captor and tried taking her own life because she saw it as her only means of escape, The Independent reported Monday.

Kampusch disappeared while on her way to school at the age of 10 in 1998 and only escaped the clutches of Wolfgang Priklopil, a communications technician, in August 2006. She managed to distract him with the noise of a vacuum cleaner as he took a phone call and fled from the cell.

Natascha KampuschLater, Priklopil, 44, committed suicide while on the run from the police by jumping in front of a train.

Bizarrely, Kampusch, who is now 22 and presents a talk show on an Austrian television, marked her tormentor's death by saying she was in mourning because in a macabre way he had become 'part of my life'.

In extracts from her book, published in the Daily Mail, she describes the first time that she saw the man who would steal her away from her family, her childhood and her life.

"He had blue eyes, and his gaze was strangely empty; he seemed lost and very vulnerable," she writes. She recalls that she had only recently been allowed to walk to school by herself in the town of Donaustadt and still felt the full force of her mother's warnings not to talk to strangers.

Recalling her capture as 'a choreography of terror' - as Priklopil grabbed her by her waist and threw her into his white delivery van - she attempts to write her sufferings after being incarcerated in the tiny cellar beneath the garage of Priklopil's home in a suburb of Vienna.

Although Priklopil at first appeared relatively considerate, even asking his young captive what she needed "as if I were staying the night at a hotel", he 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; she chose Bibiane.

Kampusch says she began to seriously consider suicide as her only escape when she heard the author of a book about missing persons speaking on the radio about her disappearance. "At 14, I'd tried several times to strangle myself with articles of clothing. At 15, I tried to slit my wrists with a large sewing needle," she recalls.

Kampusch is considered to have made a good recovery in the circumstances. However, the psychological scars of her ordeal are still very much in evidence. She is considering suing Austrian police over their failed attempts to locate her.