Sex slave dungeon: I knew Fritzl had raped his daughter, says man upstairs


Last updated at 12:36 04 May 2008

Evicted: Leitner kicked out after his dog kept running to the cellar door

A man who rented a room in the Austrian House of Horrors knew Josef Fritzl had raped his own daughter – but remained silent because he feared being evicted.

Sepp Leitner said he had been told of the crime before he moved into the property in Amstetten near Vienna.

And in a seperate revelation, the sister-in-law of Fritzl claimed the monster served 18 months in prison for a 1967 rape.

Mr Leitner lived directly above the cellar dungeon in which Elisabeth Fritzl was imprisoned for 24 years.

Mr Leitner, 42, also told how he had expensive energy bills – which he later discovered were covering the cost of heating the cellar.

He said Fritzl evicted him after four years because his dog would not stop barking at the cellar door.

Mr Leitner said that Elisabeth's 'best friend' – who he refused to name – warned him about Mr Fritzl's behaviour before he moved into the house in 1990.

He said: "I knew Sissi (Elisabeth) was being raped by her father before she disappeared. I had a good friend from school who was really close to her. She told me what a monster Josef was – and what he had done to Sissi.

Freed: Elisabeth is now a grey-haired 42-year-old

"But I did not want to get involved. I did not want to get kicked out of the room. I kept myself to myself."

Mr Leitner, a waiter who went to Amstetten Institute Of Technology with Elisabeth before she disappeared, said he never heard any odd noises from the cellar – but admitted he was baffled by the huge energy bills.

He noticed his meter kept running even when everything was switched off. He said: "I was paying for electricity downstairs."

Mr Leitner, who now lives in the Austrian town of Neustadt, says his dog, Sam, sensed something amiss.

He said: "Sam always ran to the cellar door and barked. I thought he was just excited about going outside. When Fritzl noticed (the dog) he kicked me out by changing the locks. He was furious."

More news of Fritzl's dark past was revealed when his sister-in-law, who does not want to be named, claimed he had been jailed for rape.

She also says, Fritzl's wife, Rosemarie, never believed her husband was involved in the 24-year disappearance of their daughter.

His wife's sister said yesterday that the daughter ran away from home as a 17-year-old, about six months before police say she was locked into the soundproofed, windowless cellar - hinting at a motive for the crime.

Fritzl, 73, kept his daughter as a sex slave in the cellar since 1984, repeatedly raping her and fathering seven children. One died soon after birth.

Elisabeth's mother, Rosemarie, 68, claims she was unaware her daughter was a prisoner and thought she had run away. Witnesses have described food being delivered to the cellar in a wheelbarrow and questioned how Rosemarie could not have known.

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Prison: Three of the children knew nothing beyond their improvised home in the basement

Elisabeth, now a grey-haired 42-year-old, was freed from the cellar last weekend and is being cared for in a psychiatric hospital along with her six children aged between five and 19.

Prison officers at Fritzl's jail have revealed that he spends all day watching himself on television.

Caged: Cellar rapist Josef Fritzl after his arrest last weekend

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