THE twisted mind of Josef Fritzl has been laid bare in a prison interview in which he defends the 24-year imprisonment and rape of his daughter Elisabeth.
Fritzl maintains he acted out of love in imprisoning Elisabeth when she was 18 and keeping h er in his cellar dungeon, where she was tortured and raped, giving birth to seven children.
The 73-year-old, who authorised his lawyer to give his side of the story to the Austrian magazine News, will today be arraigned before magistrates – the first step in a legal process that will determine whether he goes to jail or a psychiatric hospital for the rest of his life.
But if the interview was an attempt to win sympathy for Fritzl – he is known as "Satan" among the other inmates of the remand jail where he is being held – then he has deeply deluded himself.
Despite claims from neighbours in Amstetten that he was a brutal tyrant at home, he told his lawyer, Rudolf Mayer: "I always put a lot of value on good behaviour and respect, I admit that. The reason for this is I belong to an old school of thinking that just does not exist today.
"I grew up in the Nazi times, and that meant the need to be controlled and respect authority. Yet, despite that, I am not the monster that I am portrayed as in the media."
Asked how he would describe someone who kidnapped his own daughter, locked her in a cellar for 24 years and subjected her to a brutal regime and repeated rape, he said: "On the face of it, probably as a monster."
He disagrees with his daughter that he had assaulted her as a child, saying: "That is not true. I am not a man that has sex with little children. I only had sex with her later, much later. It was when she was in the cellar by then, when she had been in the cellar for a long time."
Asked if much planning had gone into the crime, he said: "Two, three years beforehand, that is true. I guess it must have been around 1981 or 1982 when I began to build a room in my cellar as the cell for her. I got a really...