Fritzl could never come to UK, says home secretary

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Austrian sex offender Josef Fritzl surrounded by three police officersImage source, Reuters

Home Secretary James Cleverly has described Josef Fritzl as a “monster”, saying the Austrian sex offender would never be allowed to live out his reported dream of moving to the UK.

Mr Cleverly was responding to reports that 88-year-old Fritzl, who is eligible for parole, wants to come to the UK if he is released from custody.

Fritzl, who locked his daughter in a cellar for 24 years and fathered seven children with her, was jailed in 2009.

He is serving a life sentence.

“This monster is never coming to our country,” Mr Cleverly said on X, formerly known as Twitter.

“Any attempt to travel to the UK will be refused – as it would be for anyone convicted of serious sex offences like this.”

UK government guidelines state that any foreign national who has been convicted of a criminal offence in the UK or overseas and handed a custodial sentence of 12 months would “normally” be refused a visa for entry into the UK.

According to the Sun, Fritzl said he dreamed of Britain’s “spectacular scenery” while watching a documentary about Shakespeare during his time in custody.

“I was filled with this wonderful, uplifting feeling, this sense of inspiration for this fantastic culture,” he said.

“It was then I knew that when I get released, it is not Austria I want to stay, rather I want to emigrate to the UK.”

Fritzl also spoke of wanting to roam the “wild Highlands of Scotland” and added that the “lush green fields of Wales are also very, very appealing”.

The Fritzl case, which emerged in the town of Amstetten in 2008, has been described as one of the worst in Austria’s criminal history.

He was convicted of murdering one of his children through neglect, as well as rape, incest, and enslaving his daughter.

Fritzl’s daughter and her children have since taken on new identities.

Austria media reported earlier this year that a psychiatric report on Fritzl, who has dementia says he no longer poses a danger to the public.

Frtitzl, who has also changed his name, is being held in a special psychiatric unit,

In January, a regional court court approved Fritzl’s application to be moved to a a regular prison, but that decision was overturned in March.

Potential visitors to the UK who have been rejected entry to the UK have the right to appeal against the decision to the Home Office, and ultimately to the home secretary – but Mr Cleverly’s words suggest Fritzl would not be successful in the very hypothetical situation that he ever made a visa application.

Some high-profile visitors to the UK have been denied entry under these rules. In February, US rapper Ja Rule was denied entry to the UK days before his tour was due to start, and he confirmed that his criminal record was the reason behind the refusal.

Ja Rule was released from prison in May 2013 after serving two years on gun possession and tax evasion charges.

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