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Jobless Austrian Hans Url  almost died after he cut off his own foot and threw it in an oven so he could continue to claim unemployment benefits.

The 56-year-old long term jobless man had been in a row with local job centre staff (AMS) at Mitterlabill at Feldbach in southern Austria after they told him he would have to take a job - and would have to accept the work they found for him.

When he complained he was too sick to work and didn't like the work he was offered, they ordered him to go for a medical to check the claim.

Police spokesman Franz Fasching said: "The planning was meticulous.

"He waited until his wife and his adult son had left the house and he was alone.

"He then mounted the mitre saw on two stools in his boiler room under his home, tying it with a cable in place and he then deliberately  removed the safety guard plate. He then switched it on and sliced off his left foot above the ankle - throwing it in the fire so it would not be possible to reattach it before he called emergency services.

"He then made his way to the garage where he called emergency services and waited for them to arrive.

The police added that the man had almost died from loss of blood before the emergency services arrived and that they had recovered the foot from the oven - but that it had been too badly burned to reattach.

He was airlifted to hospital in Graz where his condition was said to be stable after emergency surgery to seal the wound.

A hospital spokesman said: "The foot was too badly burned to reattach. All we could do was seal the wound. He had lost a lot of blood - he almost died on the way to hospital. He was put in an artificial coma."

The police spokesman Fasching added that they were investigating the case as an attempted suicide.

But Feldbach AMS job centre spokesman Hermann Gössinger said: "This is a tragic case but it will not help the man. His latest excuse had been a bad back which is why he had been sent for a medical. But even now losing a foot does not automatically mean he will not be able to work. He will be assessed once he is out of hospital and we will see what work we can find for him."

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