British soldier charged with child abuse in Tyrol

British soldier charged with child abuse in Tyrol
The Stubaital valley in Tyrol. Photo: Hejkal/Wikimedia
Austrian prosecutors said Wednesday that they have charged a British soldier for allegedly breaking into a local family's house and sexually abusing their six-year-old daughter.

The paratrooper, 30, who has not been named, has been charged with rape and grievous sexual abuse of a minor, said Hansjoerg Mayr, public prosecutor in the western Austrian state of Tyrol.

"The trial will start on March 10," Mayr said. The defendant faces up to 10 years in prison if convicted.

The soldier, who was taking part in military exercises in the Alps, was tackled by the girl's father in the house in Neustift im Stubaital during the alleged incident late last year, and has been in Austrian custody ever since.

The Heute newspaper reported that the incident took place while British soldiers from the elite 7th Parachute Regiment Royal Horse Artillery were in Tyrol for mountain training.

"We can confirm the arrest of a British national in Neustift," an embassy spokesman said.

A spokesman for the British army said they were aware of the arrest and detention of a soldier on November 29th.

"This is a matter for the Austrian authorities and it would be inappropriate for us to comment further," he said.