Hollywood interest in ‘ice cream killer’ story

The story of a former Vienna ice cream parlour owner who shot, dismembered, and then buried her ex-husband and her lover in the cellar of her shop may become a Hollywood film - according to a report in the Heute newspaper.

Hollywood interest in 'ice cream killer' story
Estibaliz Carranza. Photo: APA

Estibaliz Carranza, a 36-year-old Mexican-Spanish woman dubbed the Ice Lady, recently published her memoir detailing why she killed the men and how she thought she had got away with murder.

The book’s publisher, Bernhard Salomon, confirmed reports that several interested parties – including a producer from Hollywood – have expressed interest in buying the film rights to the memoir.

However Salomon told the Austrian Press Agency that it was not true that a bid of €60,000 had already been placed, or that Oscar winning actress Penelope Cruz was in the running to play Carranza.

"There are very cautious conversations, something likes this takes an insanely long time to negotiate," Salomon said.

Carranza wrote her memoir My Double Life with the help of journalist Martina Prewein. Carranza is reported to have said Cruz would be the ideal actress to play her in a film, as she was also born in Spain and “looks similar”.

Carranza confessed to shooting her victims with a .22 caliber Beretta pistol, chopping up the bodies with a chainsaw, putting them in a freezer at the ice cream parlour, and eventually burying them downstairs in the cellar.

She killed her ex-husband in 2008 and her boyfriend in November 2010.

Sentencing her, the prosecutor said she was "ice-cold" and warned that she could kill again.

The murders were only discovered after workmen stumbled across the remains in the cellar in 2011, and called the police.

Carranza fled to Italy, two months pregnant by another man, but was extradited to Austria and sentenced to life in prison.

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What happens if you get arrested in Austria?

It’s always good to know your legal rights when living as a foreigner in Austria - including if you get in trouble with the police.

What happens if you get arrested in Austria?

Getting arrested is probably not high up on a list of must-dos for international residents in Austria, but it’s not a bad idea to know what would happen if you did.

In a nutshell, the process in Austria is similar to most other countries in that you have to be suspected of committing a crime to be arrested.

But what happens next? What are your rights? And how long can someone be held in custody?

Here’s what you need to know.

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When can someone be arrested in Austria?

If someone is suspected of being a criminal, they can be arrested by the police and taken to a police station for questioning. 

Under the Austrian Code of Criminal Procedure, suspects must be informed of their rights as soon as possible, or at the very least before being interrogated by the police.

They also have a right to remain silent or to make a statement, as well as consult a lawyer.

According to Vienna-based attorney Evert Vastenburg, the initial detainment after arrest can last up to 48 hours while a judge decides whether a person should remain in custody or not.

A suspect can then be released on bail or under certain conditions, such as handing over a passport to police.

However, those suspected of serious crimes that typically lead to a prison sentence of 10 years or more (if found guilty) are almost always remanded in custody.

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When is someone remanded in custody?

To be refused bail and remanded in custody, there must be serious suspicion that another crime could be committed. 

The judge also must believe there is no other way to deal with the suspect. For example, he/she needs to be readily available to the authorities for questioning.

Another valid reason to keep someone in custody past the initial 48 hours is the risk of someone absconding. In fact, Vastenburg says a flight risk is often assumed with people that do not live and work in Austria.

Other reasons to deny a suspect release are a risk that evidence will be destroyed, witnesses will be contacted, or there is a possibility that further crimes will be committed.

What happens if bail is denied?

If bail is denied and a person must be held in custody for more than 48 hours, they have to be legally represented by a lawyer.

If a suspect can’t afford to hire a lawyer, they will be appointed a Verfahrenshilfe (public defender) by the state.

The case will be then reviewed by a judge on a regular basis to decide if custody should continue.

The first review will take place after 14 days, then at one month and every two months, but a suspect can petition for release at any time.

READ ALSO: Six tourist scams to be aware of in Austria

How many foreigners are in Austrian prisons?

According to data from the Austrian Judiciary, the number of foreigners in Austrian jails as of June 1st 2022 was 4,332 – almost 50 percent of all prisoners.

In relation to the statistics, the Austrian Judiciary states: “The high proportion of foreigners is one of many challenges for the Austrian penal system. 

“In particular, with regard to successful rehabilitation, the fastest possible transfer to the countries of origin is encouraged.

The most common nationality of foreign prisoners in Austria is Romanian, followed by people from the former Yugoslavian states, Hungary, Nigeria and Turkey.