Josef Fritzl: Notorious Austrian sex offender 'may be released from prison into care home'

Josef Fritzl was jailed for life in 2009 (AP)
Josef Fritzl was jailed for life in 2009 (AP)

Austrian sex offender Josef Fritzl, who locked his daughter in a cellar for 24 years, is up for parole and may be moved to a care home as a psychiatric expert said he no longer poses a risk, local media report.

The 88-year-old was jailed for life in 2009 after he admitted to forcing his daughter to be his sex slave for 24 years.

He kept her locked in the cellar of their family home in the city of Amstetten and fathered seven children with her.

In Austria, those with life sentences are eligible for parole after serving 15 years, meaning Fritzl will be considered for conditional release this year.

One of Austria's leading forensic psychiatric experts from Linz University, Heidi Kastner, has concluded that Fritzl is no longer a risk to his old or new victims, Austrian public broadcaster ORF reports.

Fritzl, who has dementia, reportedly needs a walking frame to get around and often seems confused, talking to the television and believing he is a pop star.

Ms Kastner believes he could be moved to a regular prison but there is speculation he may be taken to a care home.

His lawyer Astrid Wagner told Austria's Kronen Zeitung: "I am already in the process of obtaining a conditional discharge for him.

"If the application is approved - which I assume will be the case - I would like to ensure that he gets a place in a home for frail people."

In 2022, a regional court ruled Fritzl was "no longer a danger" but the Higher Regional Court in Vienna blocked this decision.

The grim case completely shocked Austria and the world, after Fritzl’s daughter was discovered in 2008.

She disappeared at the age of 18, in 1984, and was only found more than two decades later, when Fritzl took their eldest daughter to the hospital and was subsequently arrested.

Three of their children lived in captivity with their mother, while three others were brought up by Fritzl and his wife Rosemarie.

One died just days after being born and Fritzl disposed of the body in an incinerator.

His daughter and her children have also changed their names and started a new life in the Austrian countryside.