Mon, Aug 28, 2006 - Page 6 News List

Respect my privacy, says kidnapped Austrian teen

STOCKHOLM SYNDROME After hearing that her captor of eight years had killed himself, 18-year-old Natascha Kampusch `wept inconsolably,' police said

THE OBSERVER , VIENNA

The kidnapped Viennese teenager Natascha Kampusch has objected to the way she has been portrayed as a victim in the Austrian press and asked that further details about her eight-year imprisonment -- particularly those contained in the diary she kept throughout her ordeal -- not be released.

"She is not the poor victim," said her lawyer Monika Pinterits on Saturday. "She is an adult young woman. Natascha Kampusch expects her person and her privacy to be respected."

The stern rebuke came as police announced that they were giving the 18-year-old girl a break in questioning.

"She urgently needs a break. She needs her rest," said Erich Zwettler of Austria's Federal Criminal Investigations Office.

Zwettler also revealed that DNA tests on the body of the man who held her hostage for eight years in a dungeon at his home before she managed to escape on Wednesday, have shown he was not involved in any other known crime.

Kampusch, who is being looked after at a secret location, may have to be housed long-term in a specially adapted house where the environment can be carefully controlled and she can be slowly reintroduced to the outside world, though the final choice will be hers.

The teenager, described as "very intelligent and very eloquent" by Pinterits, has made it known that one of the first things she wants to do is make a trip to England after becoming interested in the country thanks to a book her abductor, Wolfgang Priklopil, gave her.

The story of Kampusch -- snatched as a ten-year-old on her way to school in 1998 -- has gripped Austria since she turned up last week, a pale and sick 18-year-old knocking on an old lady's window.

Though she has yet to go into detail about her imprisonment in a purpose-built cellar, she initially indicated to police officers she had been sexually abused, and also seems to be suffering from "serious Stockholm syndrome," according to the psychiatrist leading the team caring for her, Ernst Berger.

A police source said she "wept inconsolably" when told of Proklopil's suicide. Despite that, Natascha never lost her will to escape, asking him every day to let her go, and grabbing the chance to flee when 44-year-old Proklopil turned away to speak on his mobile phone while she was vacuuming his car.

After discovering her escape, her abductor threw himself under a train near the Vienna North station, leaving Natascha as the only source for police hoping to discover what happened over the last eight years -- and to answer the question of whether Proklopil had an accomplice.

Police said that she had spent the first seven years never leaving her cell, and had only been allowed above ground for the first time this year.

She was reunited with her father, Ludwig Koch, 50, on Wednesday in what was described by officers as a "tearful and overwhelming" scene.

Koch had never given up hope of finding his daughter and had switched to working nights after her disappearance so that he could spend his days following leads with a private detective. He is not staying with Natascha, but police have told him he can see her whenever he wants.

Things were awkward with her mother, Brigitte Sirny, 55, but police said that adjustment difficulties are normal.

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