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Last Updated: Saturday, 26 August 2006, 14:14 GMT 15:14 UK
Kidnap case shocks Austrian press
The house where Natascha Kampusch was held captive for eight years
Ms Kampusch was held in a house less than 10 miles from her home

Papers in Austria explore the motives behind the long captivity of Natascha Kampusch and ponder the implications of the case, both for the victim and for society as a whole.

The tabloid Kronen Zeitung prints a photograph of her parents and the family cat captioned "Waiting for Natascha's return".

The paper claims she begged for her freedom, but her captor, Wolfgang Priklopil, "remained merciless".

Der Standard sees the kidnapping as an extreme example of abuses that occur on a daily basis.

"Natascha K's kidnapper apparently suffered from an extreme inability to form relationships, coupled with an extreme control mania," the paper says.

"What is shocking is the time scale, the close proximity to respectable allotment gardens near a city and the sort of planning which indicates both immense criminal energy and the almost banal mentality of an amateur handicraftsman."

Although this is an extreme case, the paper goes on, the basic characteristics can be seen nearly every day, for example in "young girls and women who live under the terror of a partner... or a domineering family patriarch".

"None of this has anything to do with the 'sex beast' hullabaloo," the paper concludes.

"It is about becoming more sensitive to the almost normal insanity of our everyday life, and if necessary being more, rather than less, mistrustful".

The papers also comment on the psychological aspects of the case. Kurier interviews a therapist who "looks into Natascha's soul", commenting that she is likely to have viewed her captor as a substitute father.

From the "precise, perfidious way in which he planned the whole thing", her captor must have had a pronounced personality disorder, the expert said.

"The relationship between the two was very strong and he would have wanted to make something of her, a princess or a perfect child, a perfect woman - and seen himself as the creator," the expert commented.


Under the headline "A black hole in the soul", Salzburger Nachrichten quotes the opinion of two psychiatrists, who, in a reference to so-called Stockholm Syndrome, suggest that "identifying with the aggressor is a survival tactic. If I cannot vanquish the enemy, then I'll take his side."

They suggest that Ms Kampusch's only chance of getting over her experience is to "do the opposite to what must have been her survival strategy up to now: confronting rather than suppressing emotions".

Die Presse gives prominence to remarks by a Vienna child psychiatrist, Max Friedrich, who criticises media coverage of the case.

"Excessive reporting is in danger of making the young woman a victim for a second time," said Mr Friedrich, who is also co-ordinating the care for Ms Kampusch.

He added that her current whereabouts would be kept a secret and the only information that would be made public was "what she herself wants publicised".

BBC Monitoring selects and translates news from radio, television, press, news agencies and the internet from 150 countries in more than 70 languages. It is based in Caversham, UK, and has several bureaux abroad.


What now for Natascha?
25 Aug 06 |  Magazine
In pictures: Austria kidnap case
24 Aug 06 |  In Pictures

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