Estibaliz Carranza

Austrian ice-cream killer Estibaliz Carranza sentenced to life

Shop owner who shot, buried husband and lover two years apart will remain in mental institution

An ice-cream parlour owner who killed her ex-husband and lover, chopped them up with a chainsaw, froze their remains then buried them in concrete was sentenced to life in a secure mental institution.

Estibaliz Carranza, 34, had confessed to shooting the two men at close range in the back of the head. She buried them in the cellar of her store.

Judge Susanne Lehr told a court in the Austrian capital Vienna on Thursday her confession and her state of "considerable psychological damage" were mitigating factors.

But her careful planning and her behaviour after the murders counted against her.

Carranza, dubbed the "Ice Lady" in newspapers, did not react to the unanimous jury verdict and nodded to confirm she understood the sentence.

Her lawyer Rudolf Mayer immediately said he would appeal.


Mayer previously represented Austria's most notorious living criminal, Josef Fritzl, who kept his daughter in a cellar and used her as a sex slave.

Carranza, a Mexican-Spanish immigrant, shot dead her German ex-husband Holger Holz with a .22-calibre Beretta pistol in 2008 as he sat as his computer.

She claimed he completely changed after their wedding, turning verbally abusive, lazy and joining a Hare Krishna sect.

She complained that he had refused to move out when she took a new lover, even after they were divorced.


After killing him, she dismantled his body with a chainsaw, stored the remains in her shop's freezer then buried him in concrete under the shop.

Her lover, ice cream machine salesman Manfred Hinterberger, suffered an identical fate two years later.


Carranza shot Hinterberger four times in the back of the head, as he lay in bed snoring after she had tried to confront him about his infidelity.

She took courses in shooting and concrete-mixing before the killings, the court heard. She also joked with a friend about having murder fantasies.

On Thursday, Carranza wept as she told the judge: "All I can say is that I'm sorry I took the lives of Holger and Manfred."


Earlier, prosecutor Petra Freh told the court Carranza was a manipulative liar prepared to do anything for her own advantage, Austria Press Agency reported.

Psychiatrist Heidi Kastner, who spent more than 30 hours with Carranza before the trial, said the murderer had a "grave, comprehensive, multi-faceted personality disorder".

She was "at considerable risk" of killing again if she did not have therapy.


Kastner was also the expert psychiatric prosecution witness in the 2009 Fritzl case. He spent more than four months with Fritzl before the trial that ended in his conviction for rape, incest, kidnapping and enslavement of his daughter over 24 years.

The remains of Carranza's victims were found by chance last year when maintenance work was being done on the ice cream parlour where they were buried.

This article appeared in the South China Morning Post print edition as: Ice-cream killer locked away for life