Austria: Four women and a girl killed in Vienna in 24 hours

  • By Kathryn Armstrong
  • BBC news

Image caption,

Authorities are investigating the motives for both unrelated incidents

Police in Vienna are investigating the deaths of four women and a teenage girl in a 24-hour period.

Three women were stabbed to death by a man in a brothel in the Austrian capital on Friday. A suspect was arrested.

Another woman and her daughter were killed in an unrelated incident. Investigators believe the girl’s father was responsible.

Campaigners described the day as “Black Friday” and called for urgent action to end violence against women.

The bodies of three women were found in a building in the central Brigittenau district at around 9pm local time (8pm GMT) after a witness called emergency services.

The suspect, described by police as a 27-year-old Afghan national, was found hiding near the brothel with a knife in his hand.

The motive for the killings is currently unclear, but the man has been questioned.

Earlier on Friday, a 51-year-old woman and her 13-year-old daughter were found dead in an apartment in the Erdberg area, about 12 kilometers from where the other incident took place.

There is no suggestion that they are connected.

Police are still looking for the woman’s husband, who is also the girl’s father, as investigators suspect he may have strangled or strangled them.

“The initial investigations, which are currently underway, show that there was gross violence,” said police spokesman Philip Hasslinger.

Eva-Maria Holzleitner, the leader of the women’s policy department of the opposition Social Democratic Party (SPO), has urged the federal government to convene a crisis meeting to discuss the issue of femicide in the country.

“We mourn the murdered women, remember the survivors and call for a national action plan to protect against violence that is finally implemented to protect the lives of women in Austria,” said Ms Holzleitner.

Klaudia Frieben, leader of the umbrella organization the Austrian Women’s Ring (OFR), wrote on X (formerly Twitter) that “this day will go down in history as Black Friday with five dead women.”

According to the latest data on the number of femicides in Austria, published by the Institute for Conflict Research, some 319 women were murdered in the country between 2010 and 2020 – mainly by male partners or ex-partners.

The coalition government has promised to tackle the issue head on and has pledged almost €25 million in 2021 to initiatives aimed at protecting women from violence.

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