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Acquittal in spectacular Viennese abuse trial

Acquittal in spectacular Viennese abuse trial
The regional court for criminal matters in Vienna.
Image: GEORG HOCHMUTH (APA)

She subsequently reported that she had just managed to escape after being held captive by her ex-boyfriend in his apartment for three days and being abused several times. However, the alleged perpetrator – a 31-year-old, previously blameless man – was acquitted at the regional court on Monday evening.

The man was charged with false imprisonment and rape. The public prosecutor described the incriminated events as “absolutely horrific.” The 33-year-old woman was deprived of her freedom and was subjected to particular torture and raped several times in a particularly humiliating manner. “None of what she describes happened,” countered the defendant. His defender Ina-Christin Stiglitz was even clearer: “It’s all made up and a lie.”

After a long period of deliberation, a jury of lay judges (chaired by Stefan Huber) made an acquittal shortly before 5 p.m., which the defendant’s relatives present at the hearing – including his father and brother – acknowledged with loud applause. The presiding judge explained that the acquittal was due to doubt. The defendant’s responsibility was “anything but understandable.” However, this also applies to the woman’s portrayal: “The victim’s information is not comprehensible in crucial passages.” Above all, the objectified injuries she discovered did not correspond to her descriptions of the alleged crime sequences. “There are doubts that it happened the way she says. The picture is not conclusive. That doesn’t fit together for us,” said the judge. If there is one statement against the other, the case should be in favor of the defendant.

“There was no separation”

The acquittal is not legally binding. The public prosecutor initially made no statement. However, she requested a copy of the minutes containing the truthful information provided by the witness. The woman is likely to face proceedings for making false statements. Penalty: up to six months in prison. Her ex-boyfriend was released after the trial. He had been in custody for almost five months.

The 33-year-old explained that after the relationship ended, she came to her ex-boyfriend’s apartment again to pick up personal items. The defendant beat her to the ground, overpowered her, dragged her onto the bed with her hair, tied her hands and feet with cable ties and taped her mouth after he pressed a blank pistol into her mouth or against her temple, she claimed . She also remained tied up at night. She only escaped on the third day by pretending to the man that she still loved him, whereupon he went to get food. She used this opportunity to free herself and escape from the apartment.

“There was no separation,” the defendant assured during his interrogation. His girlfriend simply disappeared in the days before July 9th and didn’t want to tell him what had happened to her when she showed up again with clearly visible signs of injury. At that point he already knew about her work as a prostitute and he also assumed that she had worked as a money launderer for a dubious company. They didn’t leave the apartment for three days and had “a nice time”: “It wasn’t unusual that we lay in bed for three days, watching films and eating. She wanted to rest. We watched nice films, romantic dramas .”

“I didn’t love him”

Sex also occurred repeatedly, at the request of his partner, with bondage games and an electric shocker: “She insisted that I carry out these practices. It was in her interest.” He fulfilled her wish, even though he generally doesn’t believe in BDSM, the defendant explained the documented injuries of the 33-year-old captured in photos that are in the court file.

When asked why the woman was bothering him, the 31-year-old replied that in the end he realized that she had parallel relationships with other men besides him: “I am a danger to her love relationship business. Apparently she was afraid that I’m destroying their business model.” He wanted to get food “normally” when she ran barefoot into the street and appeared to be looking for help: “It was a production. She wanted to dramatize it.” Furthermore, the 33-year-old still owes him around 60,000 euros, which he laid out for her or lent to her.

Afterwards, part of the video with the woman questioned during the investigation was played, and the rest was read out. The 33-year-old initially confirmed that she worked as a prostitute and also looked after regular customers in Salzburg and Klagenfurt. She had “a beautiful, loving, respectable relationship” with the defendant: “I didn’t love him.” She left him “secretly” and then finally because of his jealousy and because he had once become violent. He didn’t accept that: “He said I couldn’t leave him.” The woman then described the actions covered by the accusation, emphasizing that she had lost consciousness several times during her ordeal. The defendant also “intimidated” her by stating that he had “already dug her grave.”

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