Austrian kidnap victim details ordeal in new book

In a new book about her ordeal, Natascha Kampusch also describes how her abductor, Wolfgang Priklopil, shaved off all her hair and shackled her to him on his bed once she turned 14.

Priklopil snatched Kampusch off a Vienna street on her way to school in 1998 and held her prisoner in a dungeon under his suburban home until she fled in August 2006. He committed suicide within hours of her escape. The case horrified Austrians and made headlines around the world. In "3,096 Days," penned with the help of two authors, Kampusch describes Priklopil as a paranoid, unpredictable and cleanliness-obsessed man who systematically tormented her physically and verbally.

"In many respects, the kidnapper was a beast and more cruel than can possibly be depicted," Kampusch wrote, according to an English edition to be released September 16 in Britain.

Over the years, he attacked her using not only his hands and feet but also a sack of cement, pruning shears and even a crowbar. "Sometimes he beat me so long it felt like hours," Kampusch wrote.

Priklopil found other ways to humiliate her. "In the house I always had to work half-naked, and in the garden I was principally not allowed to wear any knickers," Kampusch wrote. "It was one of the ways to keep me down."

He also deprived her of food, telling her she was fat and ugly. "The kidnapper knew precisely which buttons he had to push to land blows to my self esteem, and he pressed them mercilessly," wrote Kampusch, who weighed a mere 38 kilograms at age 16.

Kampusch describes how, as a teenager, she spent nights in Priklopil's bed with her wrists tied to his. "The man who beat me, locked me in the cellar and starved me, wanted to cuddle," she wrote. She also recalled the horror of having her hair shaved off because Priklopil considered every single strand a danger, to be potentially used by police to trace her.

"Not even the minutest hair was allowed to remain. Anywhere." The now 22-year-old was later allowed to grow out her hair but had to die it "peroxide blond" to conform to her captor's image of the ideal woman: "obedient, hardworking, blond."

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