A man who almost died after cutting his own foot off so he could stay on jobless benefits has been told he might still qualify for work despite his amputation.
Long term unemployed Hans Url, 56, had just been told his hand-outs would stop if he did not accept work found for him by job centre staff.
And when his claims that he was too sick and did not like the work were challenged with the offer of a medical, he took drastic measures.
Url, of Mitterlabill, southern Austria, rigged up a mitre saw and sliced off his foot – then put it in the oven for good measure to ensure no surgeon could reattach it.
But job centre staff have delivered a blow to hapless Url’s plan by saying his new disability does not rule him out for work.
Police spokesman Franz Fasching said: ‘The planning was meticulous.
‘He waited until his wife and his adult son had left the house and he was alone.
‘He then switched it on 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 then made his way to the garage where he called emergency services and waited for them to arrive.
The police added that the man had almost died from loss of blood before the emergency services arrived and that they had recovered the foot from the oven – but that it had been too badly burned to reattach.
He was airlifted to hospital in Graz where his condition was said to be stable after emergency surgery to seal the wound.
A hospital spokesman said: ‘The foot was too badly burned to reattach. All we could do was seal the wound. He had lost a lot of blood – he almost died on the way to hospital. He was put in an artificial coma.’
The police spokesman Fasching added that they were investigating the case as an attempted suicide.
But Feldbach AMS job centre spokesman Hermann Gössinger said: ‘This is a tragic case but it will not help the man.
‘His latest excuse had been a bad back which is why he had been sent for a medical.
‘But even now losing a foot does not automatically mean he will not be able to work. He will be assessed once he is out of hospital and we will see what work we can find for him.’