Natascha Kampusch, the Austrian woman who spent more than eight years locked in cramped, windowless basement, has disclosed shocking details of her time in captivity.
In 3096 Days, her forthcoming biography that’s being serialized in Britain’s Daily Mail from today, the 22-year old reveals that her captor Wolfgang Priklopil beat her up to 200 times per week, forced her to perform chores while semi-nude and referred to her as “my slave.”
“Everything happened very fast,” she writes of her abduction. “At the very moment I lowered my eyes and started walking past, he grabbed me by the waist and threw me through the open door of his van.”
“Did I scream? I don’t think so. Yet everything inside me was one single scream. It pushed upwards and became lodged far down in my throat.”
Priklopil kept her locked underground until she was 14, at which point he let her perform housework upstairs. He would beat her when he wasn’t satisfied with her work.
“He hated it when the pain made me cry,” she writes, adding that he would grab her by the throat, drag her to the sink, and push her head underwater whenever she sobbed.
Although Priklopil subjected her to “minor sexual assaults,” Kampusch maintains that sex didn’t drive his madness.
“When I was 14, I spent the night above ground for the first time. I lay stiff with fright on his bed as he lay down next to me and tied my wrists to his with plastic cuffs.”
“But when he manacled me to him on those many nights, it wasn’t about sex. The man who’d beat me and locked me in the cellar had something else in mind: he simply wanted something to cuddle.”
Priklopil’s mental abuse—he told her that her parents refused to pay her ransom and were happy to be rid of her—compelled her to attempt suicide on multiple occasions. At 14 she tried to strangle herself with clothing. At 15 she tried to slit her wrists with a large sewing needle. “Amazingly, one day I heard my old name on the radio. The author of a book on missing persons was saying there was no hot trail and no body. I wanted to scream: here I am. I’m alive,” she writes. “After that I suddenly knew I couldn’t spend my whole life this way. There was only one way out: taking my own life.”
But at some point “the will to survive kicked in,” and it was Priklopil whose life came to an abrupt end. He threw himself under a train hours after her escape.