WorldA French woman locked up for a year and...

A French woman locked up for a year and a half in a shed

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648x415 image illustration officiers police hongrie

Illustrative image of police officers in Hungary. – Istvan Filep / AP / SIPA

A 71-year-old French retiree was kidnapped for a year and a half in an unsanitary garden shed in Hungary by a couple who wanted to take advantage of their home, justice said Thursday.

After gaining the trust of the old lady, who had enjoyed a residence in Siofok not far from the famous Lake Balaton since the 1990s, the 42-year-old man and 41-year-old woman moved in with her. Then they persuaded her to donate her apartment to their minor child while retaining her usufruct right, according to a statement from the Siofok County Attorney General’s Office.

The worry of the neighbors

In 2017, on the pretext of renovation work, they had him moved before locking him up in early 2018 following an argument in a dilapidated 6 m2 shed located at the bottom of a garden. The screened hut, not insulated, closed from the outside, which had previously served as a shelter for the pigs and shed, offered no heating or amenities.

It was equipped with a bed, a table, a bedside lamp and a radio. The couple came to feed their victim once a day, sometimes allowed to walk under surveillance.

In March 2018, neighbors who were worried about the lady’s absence notified the police and the couple took her home for a while, to reassure everyone, before locking her again in her shed. It was not until September 2019, following a report, that the police came to release her. The man and woman were charged with deprivation of liberty and harassment. They face four and a half years in prison. Their trial is expected to begin “in six months,” a spokesperson for the prosecutor, Gabor Caspo, told AFP.

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