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Dog box in the hearing room of the Krems Regional Court (February 26th)

Photo: Christopher Eckl / dpa

It is a particularly drastic case of child abuse that has now come to an end in the Lower Austrian town of Krems.

In the trial of a child who was tortured almost to death, the mother of a boy was sentenced to 20 years in prison.

The 33-year-old single mother, who locked her then twelve-year-old son in a dog crate, was found guilty of attempted murder in the Krems district court late on Thursday evening.

The jury also convicted her of torturing or neglecting minors, younger or defenseless people and of deprivation of liberty.

A 40-year-old accomplice of the mother was sentenced to 14 years in prison.

The jury found it proven that the former girlfriend of the main defendant had given orders to abuse the boy.

She was charged with incitement and aiding and abetting for continued violence.

According to the court's order, both women should be placed in a forensic therapeutic center.

The judgment is not final.

The 33-year-old had tormented her son for months.

Among other things, she had tied him up, gagged him, starved him and exposed him to the icy cold.

On top of that, she had locked him in a dog crate for hours on several occasions.

The extremely emaciated child had a body temperature of just under 27 degrees when he was admitted to the hospital and was in a comatose state.

The mother stated in court that her motive was that she wanted to raise her allegedly aggressive and rebellious son to be a well-behaved child.

But she denied the intention to kill.

The defendant also recorded his ordeal in several videos.

The 40-year-old fueled the actions with numerous instructions.

Judge: Child is “psychologically destroyed”

The eight jurors deliberated for around seven hours before the verdict.

The judge said the amount of the punishment was because the defendants had almost destroyed a life with their actions.

On a psychological level, the boy was “definitely completely destroyed.”

The child lives with his father today.

The two women must also jointly pay the boy a total of 80,000 euros in compensation.

An expert certified that the mother had a “serious and lasting psychological disorder.”

The expert spoke of a “monstrous criminal act over a long period of time.”

It is very likely that the woman will commit serious bodily harm crimes again in the foreseeable future.

The expert assumed that the accomplice was similarly dangerous.

Intervention by a social worker was crucial

The mother, who had already burst into tears at the start of the trial on Monday, showed remorse again on Thursday.

She is terribly sorry.

She doesn't know how it could have gotten this far.

The 40-year-old's lawyer said his client did not understand the extent of her child's suffering.

Her legal representatives describe the mother as an intellectually very simple person who was completely overwhelmed by the upbringing and easily manipulated.

The fact that the child's torment came to an end is also thanks to the intervention of a social worker at the end of November 2022.

After the mother poured cold water on her son with the windows open and his condition deteriorated to a life-threatening extent, the two defendants contacted the social worker, who was not involved in the case.

She was able to persuade the mother to call the emergency services through repeated requests.

The role of child and youth welfare was also discussed in the process.

After two reports of danger, there were unannounced home visits to the mother and son on October 28th and November 18th, 2022.

Although abnormalities were discovered, there was no reason to take immediate action.

Last year, the child and youth welfare service emphasized that an immediate examination of the internal processes after the case became known showed that all requirements had been adhered to.

The final report from an independent group of experts will soon be presented to the Lower Austrian state government.