Man arrested for killing pensioner after smoking row

A 19-year-old man has been arrested in Vienna on suspicion of murdering a 72-year-old woman in her apartment in Favoriten after he flew into a violent rage when she asked him to stop smoking in a communal stairwell.

Man arrested for killing pensioner after smoking row
The apartment building in Favoriten. Photo: APA/Oczeret

Police said the youth was arrested on Sunday at around 4.30pm and had confessed to the murder. He had been to the crime scene – an apartment block in Davidgasse – to visit his brother, and numerous witnesses had reported seeing him on Friday when the murder took place, police spokesman Thomas Keiblinger said.

The police report said that the pensioner, who lived in the building, had got into an argument with the 19-year-old when she went into the stairwell to empty her rubbish and found him smoking there. She asked him to go outside to finish his cigarette, but he refused.

A while later he knocked on her door and allegedly punched her in the face – with such force that she fell over in her hallway. He then followed her into her apartment and continued violently attacking her.

The woman’s body was discovered on Friday evening. The cause of death given was massive head injuries inflicted with a blunt object. She also had stab marks on her neck and upper body.

She lived alone in her apartment but was visited often by relatives and neighbours, who called the police when they could not reach her on Saturday.


Austria probes claim spyware targeted law firms and banks

Austria said Friday that it was investigating a report that an Austrian company developed spyware targeting law firms, banks and consultancies in at least three countries.

Austria probes claim spyware targeted law firms and banks

Microsoft’s security team earlier this week said it found that a malware called Subzero — developed by Vienna-based company DSIRF — was deployed in 2021 and 2022.

“Observed victims to date include law firms, banks and strategic consultancies in countries such as Austria, the United Kingdom and Panama,” it wrote in a blog entry on Wednesday.

Austria’s interior ministry said it had not received reports of any incidents.

READ ALSO: Austria wary of cyber attacks after personal data of foreign residents leaked online

“Of course, (intelligence agency) DSN checks the allegations. So far, there is no proof of the use of spy software from the company mentioned,” it said in a statement.

Austria’s Kurier newspaper cited DSIRF as saying that Subzero had not been misused and “was developed exclusively for use by authorities in EU states” and was not commercially available.

DSIRF did not immediately return a request for comment from AFP.

Austria’s interior ministry said it knew of the company but “has not had any business relationships” with it.

Last year several media outlets reported that governments around the world, including in the EU, had used Pegasus spyware made by Israel’s NSO Group to spy on opponents.

Budapest and Warsaw responded that the use of Pegasus was for legitimate national security reasons.