Austrian man arrested for keeping dead mother in basement to claim pension

An Austrian man has been arrested for keeping his dead mother in the basement of his home so he could continue receiving her pension.

In a press release, the Austrian police said officers carried out a check on the 66-year-old man who lives near Innsbruck on 4 September. The man, who has now confessed, kept his mother’s body in the basement for over a year after she died of natural causes in mid-2020. He admitted this was so he could continue to receive her pension and care allowance.

Helmuth Gufler, in charge of the police’s social security fraud unit, told Austrian public broadcaster, ORF, that the son said he could not afford to pay for his mother’s funeral or keep the house where the two of them lived without her pension and care benefits. It is reported that he illegally received around €50,000.

The man was uncovered when a new postman came on duty and insisted on seeing the woman, which then resulted in the police inspection. The 66-year-old son, who has not been named, reportedly went to great lengths to keep his mother’s death a secret for as long as possible.

“He made sure that there was no odour. He stored his mother with ice packs, which he swapped regularly. He absorbed any body fluids with bandages. When he ran out of all of these things, he covered his mother with cat litter. Ultimately, the corpse was mummified,” Gufler told ORF.

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