Woman Who Answered Lonely Hearts Ad 'Tortured To Death By Couple In House Of Horrors’

A couple are in custody in Germany for allegedly holding a woman captive for nearly two months and beating her until she died.

The woman, who had apparently answered an online personal ad, had been held in the couple's house outside the western town of Hoexter for nearly two months.

She had been chained to a radiator and made to sleep in an unheated room on a floor, prosecutors in nearby Bielefeld told reporters, the dpa news agency writes.

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An autopsy showed she suffered from blows to the head, among other injuries.

The victim, identified only as a 41-year-old from Lower Saxony state, died shortly afterward in a hospital and doctors alerted authorities to the signs of abuse.

The suspects, who are a 46-year-old man and his 47-year-old ex-wife who still lives with him, are also believed to have killed and dismembered a second woman, authorities say.

The two have been under investigation since 21 April, when they called an ambulance after their car broke down and rescuers found a woman inside suffering from head injuries and other abuse.

Once in custody, the female suspect told authorities she herself had been "massively abused" by her partner and confessed that she'd been involved in killing a 33-year-old in 2014, police murder commission head Ralf Oestermann said.

After she was killed, that victim's body was cut up and stored in the freezer, and pieces were removed and burned in the couple's fireplace over time, he said.

The couple used the victim's phone to continue to send text messages to her mother, who only learned recently of her daughter's death after being contacted by authorities, police said.

The male suspect denies the allegations, Oestermann said.

Prosecutor Ralf Meyer said the motive is still not clear, but that it appeared to be more about power and control than sexual reasons.

Authorities said there is reason to believe that other women were abused in the property, and already they have interviewed a woman from the Berlin area who recognised the house from photos on television and said she had also been assaulted by the pair.

Local media has described the property as a “house of horrors” and it has been sealed off by police as the investigation continues.

The suspect’s names haven't been released because of German privacy laws, the Associated Press reports.