Wednesday, 17. September 2014
28. 03. 12. - 17:00
The wife of the jobless man who sawed off his foot so he could avoid being made to take a job has slammed job centre staff for not letting him go into early retirement.
Monika Url, 55, said hubbie Hans had really wanted a job but that the job centre, the AMS, in Feldbach, Austria, had failed to give him one that he wanted to do.
She said: "He wanted to work outside in the nature, he had a job working on a golf course once but it didn't last long - and they (AMS) were constantly suggesting other jobs that were unsuitable.
"He had tried to get early retirement twice and been refused, and then came the news that they wanted to force him to take a job. He said he was too ill, with back and shoulder problems, and so they sent him for a medical.
"He knew they would not believe him so decided to give them an injury they could not deny was real. I have visited him in hospital - he said he was sorry he caused me and the kids problems. But we are all standing behind him - we will support him."
She added Hans, 56, had not worked for a decade and had already decided nobody would want him any more at his age: "He felt so worthless."
The couple have been married 36 years have two children, Petra, aged 34 and son Manuel, 28.
Neighbours said Hans was a heavy drinker although Monika denied it, and said he rarely touched alcohol. On the day of the incident however he had consumed an entire bottle of schnapps to build up his courage.
He waited until his wife and his 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 had then tied a leather belt around his leg to cut off the blood supply and put a pair of crutches nearby so he could get to the garage afterwards and wait for the ambulance.
He then switched on the saw 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 made his way to the garage on the crutches where he called emergency services and waited for them to arrive.
Job centre Hermann Gössinger said that the man would not be eligible for disability pension as the law stated that self mutilation ruled out a claim.
He added: "We did everything we could for him and we knew he was finding it hard. We offered him counselling and therapy which he had accepted and the sessions were set to continue. He obviously decided to go another way. He had been offered a lot of jobs - he would turn up and then give up the job a short while later.
"It is a tragic case but we don't have the power to just let someone retire - a doctor decides that and he was supposed to attend the health check on the day he injured himself."
Austrian social services spokesman Beatrix Bohm confirmed that the man was not eligible for a physical disability pension as he had caused his injuries himself.
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