Watching what emerges from the Fritzl trial leaves one either nauseated or fascinated, according to type.
Well, as day two of the Fritzl trial gets under way, it looks like it will the usual unedifying spectacle.
From performance artists laying blood-spattered dolls in the street, to the journos in the beer tents (a six-month fine if any of them is caught attempting to bug the closed-session video evidence provided by Elizabeth Fritzl), to the inhabitants of Amstetten and St Poelten just trying to forget that any such thing happened on their doorstep.
For the second day running, Fritzl has come to court covering his face with a binder to protect his privacy.
He doesn’t think of himself as a monster, of course, and his lawyer is still making impossible attempts to paint him as halfway normal because he bought his daughter the odd present from time to time and was good enough to let her have a telly. As if this is going to cut any ice with the jury. I notice they have several backup members ready, just in case it all proves too unbearable.
Meanwhile, the Austrian authorities have banged a slavery charge on him in the frantic hopes of making sure this man NEVER gets out of jail again. The problem lies with their rape laws, which even when he’s found guilty will mean he only has to spend about seven and a half years in jail, as if he had committed one attack instead of literally thousands. Why he can’t be charged with rape at least for each of the times he fathered a child I don’t know.
Well, we will have to see. Perhaps they’ve been smart enough to slap several separate charges of unlawful imprisonment on him (one for each person), or are holding other charges back, the way the police did over the Yorkshire Ripper killings. That way, as one sentence comes to an end, he can happily be charged with something else, and so on in perpetuity.
Certainly I can’t imagine that Elizabeth Fritzl, or her mother, or her children would ever want to live in a world where this man is freely walking around, and no more would any of the rest of us.