Murder of 5 women shakes Vienna

Published February 25, 2024

VIENNA: Austrian authorities were on Saturday investigating the killings of five women in the capital Vienna within a single day, sowing panic in the city. The dead included three women found brutally stabbed to death in a brothel.

The bodies of three young women were found with fatal knife wounds in a brothel in Vienna’s underprivileged Brigit­tenau district on Friday night after a witness alerted police.

A 27-year-old man still carrying a knife that was believed to be the murder weapon was arrested nearby on suspicion of committing the murders, police said on Saturday. No motive has been given for the killings with the suspect still being questioned, Austrian press agency APA reported.

In a separate case, a mother and her 13-year-old daughter had been found dead in a Vienna apartment. They were possibly strangled or choked to death, with the father a prime suspect, APA said.

Austria’s association of autonomous women’s shelters recorded 26 femicides last year and debate has raged in Austria and across Europe over the murder of women and girls, often at the hands of partners or ex-partners.

The Austrian government has vowed to crack down, pledging several measures including increased funding for organisations helping victims of violence. But NGOs say the government is not doing enough to stop the murders.

Between 2010 and 2020, 319 women were killed in Austria, mostly by their male partners or ex-partners, with a record high of 43 victims in 2019, according to a government study.

Published in Dawn, February 25th, 2024

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