Page last updated at 12:59 GMT, Friday, 11 July 2008 13:59 UK

Austrians question cellar captive

Josef Fritzl
Police say Fritzl has admitted imprisoning and raping his daughter

Prosecutors in Austria have questioned Elisabeth Fritzl, the woman who was held captive in a cellar for 24 years by her father, Josef.

The questioning involved a doctor to determine how one of the seven babies she was forced to bear by her father had died, said the prosecutor's office.

Mr Fritzl confessed to incinerating the body of the dead baby, officials say.

Formal charges against Josef Fritzl may be ready within a few months - allowing a trial to start later this year.

The interview was filmed so that Elisabeth Fritzl would not have to give evidence in person at her father's eventual trial, officials said.

She is expected to be questioned again next week, the Austrian news agency Apa said, citing court sources.

Possible murder charge

Mr Fritzl is being held in pre-trial detention in St Poelten, 80 km (50 miles) west of the capital, Vienna.

His alleged victims, including Elisabeth, 42, are undergoing treatment at a psychiatric hospital.

Austria house in Amstetten where Elisabeth was held captive
Elisabeth and her children spent years in a windowless cellar

Prosecutors say Mr Fritzl has confessed to keeping his daughter captive in a cell at his home in Amstetten, where he says he had seven children with her.

Three of the children were confined to the cellar, three were raised above ground, and one died in infancy, officials say.

Mr Fritzl confessed to disposing of the child's corpse - a twin born in 1997 - and could face murder charges if he is found responsible for the death, officials say.

DNA tests have shown he is the father of Elisabeth's six surviving children.

The case first came to light after Kerstin, one of the children fathered by Mr Fritzl, became seriously ill and was taken to hospital.

Unable to find any medical records, they appealed for the teenager's mother to come forward.

At that point Mr Fritzl released Elisabeth, who then explained the story to police.

Kerstin was finally reunited with her family after coming out of a coma earlier this month. She is expected to make a full recovery.

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