Austrian incest father admits rape, pleads not guilty to murder | world | Hindustan Times
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Austrian incest father admits rape, pleads not guilty to murder

Austrian Josef Fritzl pleaded guilty to incest, rape and sequestration for locking his daughter in a cellar for 24 years, but denied charges of murder and enslavement.

world Updated: Mar 16, 2009 20:24 IST

An Austrian man accused of fathering daughter's seven children as he locked her in a basement for decades pleaded guilty to incest but insisted he was innocent of murder and enslavement charges as his trial opened on Monday.

Josef Fritzl hid his face behind a blue file folder as a judge began the proceedings under heavy security in St Poelten, 65 kilometres west of Vienna. Fritzl pleaded guilty to incest and false imprisonment, but only partially guilty to charges of coercion and rape. He pleaded not guilty to murder and enslavement.

Police say the 73-year-old has confessed to holding his daughter for 24 years in a cell he built beneath his home. Investigators say DNA tests show he fathered her six surviving children.

Another child died in infancy, and prosecutors charged Fritzl with murder, contending the baby might have survived if Fritzl had arranged for medical care.

In her opening statement, prosecutor Christiane Burkheiser accused Fritzl of repeatedly raping his daughter in front of the children.

Burkheiser said Fritzl didn't talk to his daughter during her first few years in captivity and that he simply came down to the cellar to rape her.