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

BUDAPEST | A 71-year-old French retiree was held captive 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.

In 2017, claiming renovation work, they had him moved before locking him up in early 2018 following an argument in a dilapidated 6m2 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, had 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 have been 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 spokesman for prosecutor Gabor Caspo told AFP.

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