Shock U-turn on 1980 prostitute murder

An Austrian may have spent nearly 20 years in prison for a crime he did not commit.

Manfred B. called the police after discovering the body of prostitute Heidemarie Mayerhofer at her flat in Salzburg in November 1980. The pimp, who was 29 at the time, was considered a suspect when police were told he used to beat up the woman. The 23-year-old was strangled to death with a cable but not sexually abused, examinations have shown. Around 3,000 Schillings (218 Euros) in cash were missing from the apartment.

Manfred B. was interrogated for hours but denied the crime. Nevertheless, he was sentenced to 20 years behind bars by a jury. The Upper Austrian man started a new life after being released from jail after 17 years, according to his lawyer. Officials decided he must not serve the full term due to his faultless behaviour behind bars.

Now a routine check into police records disclosed that fingerprints found on a box of jewellery at the killed prostitute’s flat appear to belong to a Dutchman living in Munich, Germany. Austrian police and prosecutors have asked their counterparts in Germany to arrest and question the man who, according to reports by Austrian papers from today (Thurs), worked in Salzburg as a trainee in 1980. He may be extradited to Austria for further questioning.

Manfred B. may receive hundreds of thousands of Euros in compensation for his spell behind bars if being found not guilty of homicide. He now resides in the Upper Austrian city of Wels, according to the Oberösterreichische Nachrichten and the Kurier.