Newspaper fined over dead prostitute picture mix-up

An Austrian newspaper has been sentenced to pay thousands of Euros in compensation to a Slovak student for printing a picture from her Facebook page as reporters mistook her for a murdered prostitute.Viennese tabloid Österreich was ordered to transfer 20,000 Euros to Lucia Rehakova. Reporters covering a series of brutal killings of prostitutes across Austria last summer wrongly assumed the 23-year-old was one of the victims. Rehakova was however on holiday abroad when the murders occurred. One of the victims has exactly the same first and surname as the young college student from Bratislava.”When I returned from my vacation, several relatives and friends called me up to check whether I was OK. I was shocked when I was told what they read,” she told Slovak newspapers earlier this week.Rehakova added she could not get any sleep in the weeks after the wrongly printed pictures were published. She said: “I became depressive and needed to see a doctor. One of my professors at the college told me that what happened may affect my career.”The 23-year-old said she was appalled no one called her before printing her picture. “They apparently simply assumed I was a prostitute,” she said.The sentence against Österreich is not yet legally binding. Other newspapers including the Kurier also printed the Slovak student’s Facebook picture wrongly thinking it showed one of the victims of the still unsolved killing spree. Reports have it that those newspapers avoided legal proceedings by mutually agreeing with Rehakova out of court.The recent mishap resembles a blunder from 2008 when Österreich, market-leading Kronen Zeitung and free Viennese daily newspaper Heute published the wrong photo of an axe-murderer’s victim.The printed image showing an angelic-looking child was supposedly Natalie Steinbauer, a seven-year-old girl hacked to death by her dad Reinhard Steinbauer. The image however showed a different girl who attended the same school as Natalie and was still very much alive.Broke businessman Reinhard Steinbauer, 39, was given a life sentence after killing his wife, their daughter Natalie, his parents and his father-in-law all on one day in Vienna, Linz and Ansfelden.