A man arrested after barricading himself, his partner and six children in a wine cellar in Austria has emerged as a conspiracy theorist turned former London IT worker.
Tom Landon, 54, was arrested after he pepper-sprayed a pair of government officials called to inspect a cellar in the Austrian village of Aubitritz.
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Neighbors called the police after hearing children’s voices coming from the basement.
Officers found Landon inside with his 40-year-old partner and children ranging in age from seven months to five years old, as well as several guns.
Erich Greil, the village’s deputy mayor, said that Landon only lived there for “a short time”.
He told the Sunday Times: “Before that, he apparently lived in England. I think he worked in the IT sector.
Landon is the author of several books, including two titled Red Sow and Dirty Justice.
One gives his 2019 address as East Finchley in North London.
Landon is arrested by the police and later released but may be charged with resisting state authority.
His partner reportedly speaks both English and German but his background is not known.
The family is believed to have been living in the basement for the past nine months. It was equipped with water and electricity supplies as well as doors and windows but was deemed unsuitable for human habitation.
Local journalists said that Landon was linked to the Austrian offshoot of the German Reichsberger movement, which rejects the legitimacy of the state and is drawn to various conspiracy theories.
Late last year, dozens of its members, including a prince, a serving soldier and a former lawmaker, were arrested in Germany and accused of plotting to overthrow the country’s democratically elected government.
The Kronen Zeitung reported that Landon “was known to the authorities” and was “firmly convinced of bizarre conspiracy theories”.
Stefan Lloyd of Austrian police said the children were taken to hospital and examined in the presence of their mother, and then released. It appears that they were born in Britain and not registered in Austria.