Austrian kidnap victim Kampusch testifies in court battle

19th May 2008, Comments 0 comments

Kampusch's mother contests claims by a retired judge that she was an accomplice of her daughter's abductor.

Vienna -- Austrian kidnap victim Natascha Kampusch, 20, took the witness stand last week in a case deliberating her mother's alleged complicity in her disappearance.

Kampusch's mother, Brigitta Sirny, contests claims by a retired judge that she was an accomplice of her daughter's abductor, Wolfgang Priklopil.

The 44-year-old technician snatched Kampusch on her way to school in 1998 and imprisoned her in a basement dungeon. Priklopil committed suicide after Kampusch's escape in August 2006.

Austrian police discounted claims by former judge Martin Wabl, who said Kampusch had also been sexually abused prior to her abduction.

Spectators and reporters had to leave the courtroom in the city of Graz in southern Austria when Kampusch took the witness stand.

Wabl said he had offered his assistance when the girl was kidnapped, and soon suspected that there was some family involvement, but could not provide any evidence of his claims.

Earlier in the trial, Kampusch's father, Ludwig Koch, said he could not completely rule out that Sirny had known Priklopil or that she was involved.

Meanwhile, Kampusch has gained possession of the house where she was held captive for eight years, to prevent it from being demolished, Bunte, a German magazine reported.

"I know it's grotesque - I must now pay for electricity, water and taxes on a house I never wanted to live in," she told Bunte in an interview.

Kampusch claimed the house from Priklopil's estate, reports said. Her spokesman did not confirm that she bought it outright.

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