Son (13) beaten, gagged and locked in a dog crate: Waldviertel woman in court

Son (13) beaten, gagged and locked in a dog crate: Waldviertel woman in court
Huge media rush at the Krems regional court.

The 33-year-old main defendant is accused, among other things, of attempted murder; she pleaded guilty to partial guilt. A possible accomplice (40) is accused of committing continued violence; the allegations have been denied.

Further charges in relation to the boy’s mother include torturing or neglecting minors, younger or defenseless people and deprivation of liberty. The Krems public prosecutor’s office also requested that the 33-year-old, as well as the second defendant, be placed in a forensic therapeutic center. According to her defense attorney Astrid Wagner, the mother denies the accusation of attempted murder, but has “fundamentally confessed” to the two other charges.

Video: Interview with lawyer Astrid Wagner

“He begged for food”

The 33-year-old single mother is said to have beaten, tied up, gagged her son, among other things, from at least July to November 2022 and repeatedly put him in a bed for hours Dog box (dimensions: 57 x 83 x 63 centimeters). She is also said to have let the child starve. “He begs for food and his mother simply doesn’t give him anything,” said the prosecutor in her opening speech.

The mother was arrested in autumn 2022, and at the beginning of March 2023 the handcuffs clicked for the 40-year-old possible accomplice. The woman from the Waldviertel is seen by the public prosecutor’s office as at least a kind of pacesetter. She comes from the same region as the first defendant, and from 2019 onwards a very close “relationship-like friendship” developed between the two women, as the prosecution representative described it.

  • From the archive: Women sent each other instructions on how to torture a child

“Unbelievable martyrdom”

The Lower Austrian is said to have initially isolated the 33-year-old socially and repeatedly gave her instructions on how to punish the child and encouraged the main accused in her behavior – in person, by telephone and via chat messages. There was likely to be a lively exchange via various communication channels. “They took pleasure in torturing this child,” said the prosecutor. Also the suggestion to put the boy in the Dog box to block is said to have come from the 40-year-old. “Two women tortured a child almost – thank God only almost – to death,” said the representative of the prosecution, who also spoke of an “unbelievable martyrdom” and “atrocities”.

The matter came to a head between November 20th and 22nd, 2022, and the accusation of attempted murder also refers to this period. The mother is said to have poured cold water on her then twelve-year-old son several times a day and at the same time opened the windows of the apartment for hours. In cold weather, the body temperature of the malnourished child, who weighed only around 40 kilos at a height of 1.70 meters, fell to 26.8 degrees.

Despite her child’s life-threatening condition, the mother did not seek medical care. Rather, she repeatedly called her 40-year-old friend, according to the accusation. The second defendant then contacted a social worker and drove with her to the main defendant’s home. The mother finally alerted the rescue team on the spot – but “only after repeated insistence” from the social worker, as they say. The child was subsequently taken to a hospital and treated in the intensive care unit. The boy’s health later improved. “The consequences will stay with him psychologically for years to come,” said the victim’s lawyer. He demanded 150,000 euros in compensation.

  • Also read: Child locked in dog crate: Authorities are heavily criticized

“The pull of a bad person”

According to Peter Hofmann’s psychiatric report, the two defendants were sane at the time of the crime. However, there is a high probability that the women will commit serious bodily harm crimes again in the foreseeable future.

Wagner, the defense attorney for the first defendant, stated that her client was not the “horror mother” portrayed in the media. After the untimely death of the 33-year-old’s mother, the second defendant, a “bad person” entered the life of the “completely inconspicuous” woman. She fell into “the pull of a bad person” and into slavery. The connection to reality was completely lost.

The second defendant “knew that the mother was completely overwhelmed and was raising her child completely wrong,” admitted her lawyer Sascha Flatz. His client was aware of some of the actions, but did not know “that it was happening to that extent.” Flatz described Wagner’s comments about the 40-year-old as a pure defensive strategy. Rather, it was the first defendant who “manipulated everyone.”

Mother faces life imprisonment

If convicted of attempted murder, the mother could face up to life in prison. The penalty for the co-defendant for continued use of violence as a contributor or intended perpetrator is up to ten years. The proceedings are to continue on Tuesday (tomorrow), verdicts are planned for Thursday.

Criticism of the authorities was raised several times in the media. The child and youth welfare service emphasized that an immediate check of the internal processes after the case became known showed that “all requirements were adhered to”. A six-person expert group was set up by the state and began its work in August 2023. According to Lower Austrian State Councilor Ulrike Königsberger-Ludwig (SPÖ), the independent commission should review legal regulations, processes and interfaces and make any suggestions for improvements. We are currently in the “final phase,” it said in response to an APA request. However, an exact date for the presentation of the final report has not yet been set.

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