Fake suicide gets four years for child abuse

A pensioner who faked his own suicide to escape a sex abuse trial was sentenced to four years in prison on Friday.A court in Korneuburg, Lower Austria, heard how Helmut B. was found alive and well at an Upper Austrian monastery months after being declared dead.The 68-year-old staged his own suicide by jumping off a ferry in Croatian waters in front of dozens of witnesses, and was probably picked up by a motorboat waiting for him. The Vienna resident’s new life as a monk at Pupping monastery was over after he behaved suspiciously when police stopped him cycling as part of a routine traffic check last month.A spokesman for the monastery said: “He said he was interested in faith and wanted to join us. He worked as a gardener. We did not ask him where he came from – our doors are open for everyone, for friend and foe. But we never thought he had such a background. He cycled to the shops in the neighbouring town everyday.”Judges in Korneuburg have now slapped the con man with a four-year sentence for sexually abusing his four daughters and one foster. The sentence is not yet legally binding since the defendant’s lawyer appealed the verdict. Helmut B. claims his daughters would lie.Croatian officials meanwhile revealed plans to call for compensation for the thousands of Euros spent on their search operation for the man after he jumped ship last September.Marina Haluzan, a spokeswoman of the Croatian Ministry of Sea, Transport and Infrastructure said according to a Croatian Times report: “The Ministry will together with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs start the process of demanding the damage money for the search for the Austrian.”She added the exact amount could not be confirmed yet, but said the state-owned agency that led the search for the body had prepared a list of actions it took in trying to find the conman after he jumped from the Jazine ferry from Preko to Zadar on 25 September 2009.