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Last Updated: Friday, 25 August 2006, 14:26 GMT 15:26 UK
Austria girl 'describes kidnap'
Police photo showing stairs leading to dungeon
Police found stairs leading to a dungeon in the house

An Austrian teenager held prisoner for eight years says her captor made her call him "master" for the first year, a newspaper report says.

Natascha Kampusch, now 18, made the remarks to police after escaping on Wednesday, the mass-circulation Krone Zeitung said.

DNA tests on Friday confirmed Ms Kampusch's claim to be the schoolgirl who disappeared eight years ago.

Her captor, Wolfgang Priklopil, 44, killed himself after her escape.

The communications technician is believed to have kept Ms Kampusch in a concealed, sound-proof chamber in his cellar.

Ms Kampusch's parents have spoken of their joy at being re-united with her.

"We fell into each other's arms... I recognised her from her way of being, her face... I always thought she was alive," her mother told Austrian TV.

'Keep still'

Austrian media says Ms Kampusch told police that she considered her abductor to be "criminal".

The Krone Zeitung quoted her as saying: "Wolfgang was always kind to me."

She also reportedly told police: "I had to call him master for the first year."

On the day of her kidnapping, she was dragged into a vehicle and told: "Keep still, lie down or something is going to happen to you," the paper said.

A policewoman who has interviewed Ms Kampusch told Austrian state TV that her captor had said he had singled her out.

He apparently told her if he hadn't kidnapped her "that day, it would've been the next", Sabine Freudenberger said.

Ms Freudenberger said Ms Kampusch did not know her captor's name at first but "he was a sort of father figure for her" who "taught her everything from the beginning, also hygiene".

The police officer said she had been surprised by Ms Kampusch's "intelligence, her vocabulary" and that she had been "educated" by her captor, who gave her books and access to TV and radio.

Ms Kampusch has told police she tried to escape several times but was threatened by Mr Priklopil.


Police spokesman Erich Zwettler said Natascha appeared to be coping well.

"In the morning, we were informed by our colleague who is taking care of her that she slept well, she had breakfast and she seems to be very calm," he said.

"We assume that she is psychologically coping well with the situation."

Psychologists interviewed by Austrian media say Ms Kampusch may have developed "Stockholm syndrome", whereby some abductees gradually begin to sympathise with their captors.

Ms Kampusch's father, his eyes moist and voice faltering, said on Austrian TV that he had never thought he would live to see the day of Natascha's return.

"Honestly, I didn't think that I'd still experience this," said Ludwig Koch.

"She said: 'Dad, I love you.' And the next question was: 'Is my toy car still there?' It was Natascha's favourite toy, I never gave it away in all those years.

'Dash for freedom'

Few details have been released about how Natascha regained her freedom but state television quoted a police spokesman as saying she had escaped when the door to her hiding place was left open.

Vienna map

Other reports quoted federal police official Gerhard Lang who said that while the girl was "locked up day and night" she was "let out for different chores in the house".

She was apparently vacuuming the car on Wednesday when she saw her chance to get away, Mr Lang said.

It is not clear what the alleged kidnapper's motives were and whether Natascha was sexually abused during her captivity.

Police say he had no connection to the girl's family and there had been no ransom demand.

Police on Thursday tracked down the van in which Ms Kampusch was kidnapped and are investigating if Mr Priklopil had an accomplice, Austrian TV reported.

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