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Australians appalled by their own Fritzl case

world Updated: Sep 17, 2009 08:57 IST

An Australian kept his daughter as a sex slave for 30 years and fathered her four children in the Melbourne house he shared with his wife, the

Herald Sun

newspaper reported on Thursday.

The case has clear parallels with Austrian Josef Fritzl, who was jailed for life earlier this year for keeping his daughter prisoner in a cellar and fathering her seven children over 24 years of sexual abuse.

The alleged Australian rapist was charged in February after his daughter, now in her 40s, reported to police.

It was claimed the man held the victim in sway by threatening violence against her mother and siblings when the rapes started at age 11.

The wife claimed to be unaware of any abuse, despite sharing a house with her daughter, husband and grandchildren until 2005.

Child welfare advocates have called for an inquiry into why authorities didn't spot the abuse despite being involved in the welfare of the family for decades.

Three of the man's children with his wife died - two of cot death and another by drowning - while the surviving children were understood to have spent periods in the care of the state.

The victim spoke to police in 2005 but didn't press charges because she was scared of her father.

The paper said the birth certificates of the victim's four children didn't record the name of the father and that all suffered health problems that could be related to incest.

The 80 sex-abuse charges were laid in February after the victim spoke to police a second time.

When questioned, the man, in his 60s, denied raping his daughter. He was charged after DNA tests showed he was the father of her children.

The victim may testify in November when the case comes to court.

"People reading her story in the Herald Sun will be shocked and revolted to find the horrendous crimes they heard about in other countries may have happened here," the paper editorialised.

"Crimes such as the thousands of rapes committed by Josef Fritzl against the daughter he imprisoned for 24 years in his house in Austria and where she gave birth to six (sic) children."