Austrian kidnap woman pities captor


VIENNA — A year after escaping a kidnapper who held her for eight years, Austria's Natascha Kampusch says she feels increasingly sorry for her captor and has trouble defining friendship.

Snatched as a freckle-faced 10-year-old on her way to school, Mr. Kampusch was forced to live in a cell beneath a house garage from 1998 until her dramatic escape in August 2006, which turned her into an international media sensation. Her 44-year-old captor committed suicide after she fled.

"It was always clear that there could be only one of us two, and in the end that turned out to be me, not him," Ms. Kampusch, 19, said in excerpts of an interview published on the Web site of broadcaster ORF and to be aired on Monday night.

"I felt a little bit of regret, of pity," she said. "All I can say is that I feel more and more sorry for him."

Ms. Kampusch spent most of her teenage years in the tiny, windowless cell and only made her escape when her kidnapper, Wolfgang Priklopil, was distracted by a phone call as she was cleaning his car in the driveway of his home.

"There are many people who abuse one's trust, and this is very grave," said Ms. Kampusch.

"I haven't quite found out for myself how to define friendship."

The story of her dash to freedom, but also her relationship to Mr. Priklopil, with whom she occasionally went shopping and skiing, held media audiences spellbound around the globe.

"What he did to me has become more distant, (but) it does not fade away, it boils up again and again," said Ms. Kampusch.

"I just try and handle these memories as well as I can, and try to work through them."

Ms. Kampusch has been busy catching up on her education, learning how to drive and reintegrating in society. She stresses the importance of privacy for emotional issues.

"You will rarely, or even never, see me crying, sobbing or breaking down in public. I'll sort that out in private," she said.

Ms. Kampusch explained why she bade farewell to Mr. Priklopil's coffin after his suicide.

"I said farewell, and why shouldn't I have done so?

"It was important to me, because the last time I saw him alive was when he turned his back to me and I ran away head over heels, but I only said farewell to his coffin, I didn't actually see him," she told ORF.

After her escape, Ms. Kampusch found herself chased by photographers and journalists and has received offers for film and book rights from Austria and abroad.

Ms. Kampusch's mother, who is divorced from her father, launched an emotional book about her own eight years without Natascha earlier this month.

But so far Ms. Kampusch, who flew to Spain for the ORF television special and spent the first day of her trip at the seaside, has given only a small number of interviews.

She has shielded herself behind an army of psychiatrists, media advisers and lawyers marketing and handling her case.


Our commentary in the Globe and Mail

August 20,2007

Ottawa Mens, from Ottawa, Canada wrote: Like the mother of Natascha Kampusch. Many fathers never see their children after birth.

In 1998 a feminist lawyer, Joanne A. Barber of Timmins wrote a written submission to a judge that contained entirely false allegations that a father admitted perjury. The fraud terminated any access.

When the evidence of the fraud was presented at court in September 2001, a Justice W.G. Beatty ordered an “expedited trial” and another judge issued 5 criminal charges against the mother who does not deny that she heard voices telling her to get out of aircraft in flight, smelled odours that did not exist, & repeatedly assaulting the father without prior conversation or provocation.

The mentally ill violent mother then hired well known feminist lawyer Lesley Kendall of “Eastern Ontario’s Largest Law Firm” Cunningham Swan” who claimed that the order for an “expedited trial” and the 5 criminal charges issued by Ontario Court of Justice Judge Guy Mahaffy was harassment.

Lesley Kendall then fabricated an affidavit that she was personally threatened by the father and gave evidence personally while asking Justice Denis Power of Ottawa for a restraining order because the “litigation was harassment”

In December 2001 Justice Denis Power of Ottawa issued a “PERMANENT” restraining order banishing the father from Kingston. The transcripts read “I can’t do anything about the order of Justice Beatty (for an expedited trial of custody and access) but I can issue a restraining order.

The mother then moved to Ottawa a few kilometres away from the father. Lesley Kendal refuses to answer requests for the removal of the restraining order or allow access.

In January 2007 Lesley Kendal just stated in court “the mother has no objection to access” and venomously demands $20,000 for unpaid orders for costs that Lesley Kendal is aware were all based on fraud. A now ten year old girl is now living with “two mothers” and does not even know her father exists.