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Construction workers discover secret basement in Josef Fritzl's guesthouse eight years after vile rapist was jailed

Construction workers have discovered a secret basement in a guesthouse owned by Joseph Fritzl - eight years after the vile rapist was jailed for caging his daughter for 24 years.

Further investigation into the property - which was previously run by the Austrian dungeon horror dad and his wife Rosemarie - revealed it also had other hidden areas.

The shocking discovery was made while workers were said to be measuring the guesthouse.

Rosemarie and Josef are known to have run the guesthouse called 'Seestern' - which means "Starfish" - for years in the picturesque lakeside town of Unterach am Mondsee

The location is just a short drive south of the city of Salzburg in north-western Austria.

Josef Fritzl
Josef Fritzl caged his daughter for 24 years
Elisabeth was used as a sex slave - and gave birth to seven children
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It's known that they left the property, which is now rented by a man only identified as Helmut L, back in 1996.

According to media reports, two construction workers measuring the building discovered an anteroom with a staircase leading nowhere behind an improvised wall.

In addition, they found some glass tiles in front of another wall.

Helmut L. said: "There are cavities everywhere in the house."

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The sign above the guesthouse - called 'Starfish'
Chairs arranged inside the guesthouse

The measurement of the guest house with its attached campsite was necessary because the house never received a building permit.

In the period when the Fritzls occupied the house it was burned down twice and finally rebuilt.

Josef Fritzl was even investigated as a suspected arsonist but the police could never prove anything.

Bizarrely, according to local media the house was never properly inspected by the police even after they learned about Fritzl's crimes in his next property.

Elisabeth Fritzl
Elisabeth Fritzl was just 18 years old when she disappeared
Fritzl House (Pic:Reuters)
The home where Fritzl held Elisabeth captive
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Fritzl kept his own daughter Elisabeth captive for 24 years in his guesthouse in the town of Amstetten in the north-eastern state of Lower Austria, where he used her as a sex slave in a soundproofed horror dungeon.

He raped her more than 3,000 times and fathered seven children with her.

It was only when Kerstin, the eldest daughter fathered by Fritzl, slipped into a coma that the horror father took her to hospital, where doctors noted her malnourished condition and rotting teeth.

When Elisabeth was given permission to finally leave the cellar to visit Kerstin in hospital, she was arrested and told police about the horrific crimes her father had committed.

Fritzl, who recently changed his surname to Mayrhoff so that other prisoners might not recognise him any more, is serving life for murder and rape at Austria's most secure psychiatric prison.

Fritzl's cellar (Pic:Getty Images)
Fritzl's original cellar where he held Elisabeth
Fritzl was sentenced to life imprisonment

The murder charge was in relation to the death by negligence of one of his sons.

Fritzl's house in Amstetten was bought by Herbert and Ingrid Houska for only 160,000 EUR (143,581 GBP).

They renovated the building, which includes multiple flats, and have rented out all 10 properties.

Herbert Houska said he saw the refurbishing of the house as a wiping-clean of the area's history.

He said: "The sarcophagus of Amstetten is gone. I think really something beautiful has emerged and the past has been buried. Many residents congratulate me and are happy.

"It is time to finally look forward."

One of the underground rooms found by police where Elisabeth was held
Josef Fritzl is currently behind bars

Only the basement of the complex where Elisabeth was held is not in use as the Amstetten authorities filled it in to prevent it from becoming a shrine to other perverts.

When Fritzl owned the house none of the tenants knew about the tragedy that was playing out beneath them in Fritzl's self-constructed dungeon.

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