‘Doomsday prepper’ found with six British children in Austrian cellar
The man who was found in a basement in Austria with his six British-born children is a “doomsday preparation” who previously worked in information technology in London, according to local officials.
Tom Landon, 54, is reportedly a conspiracy theorist who has written several self-published books denouncing the Austrian government.
He is believed to have lived for about nine months in a network of cellars under a building guarded by security cameras in the small village of Orbitz, near the Czech border. He reportedly bought the property through a British company but was not allowed to use it for living.
A black-and-white photograph of Mr. Landon, released on Sunday, shows a bald-headed man wearing a goatee gazing into the camera.
Landon allegedly fired pepper spray at social workers
The photographs of the place where he was detained show two entrances to the alleged underground house. On one, a brick staircase leads down to an arched doorway, and on the other, a sloping, concrete-covered path descends below street level to a bunker-like building.
The dilapidated entrances are accessible from the street, and solar-powered security cameras appear to have been plugged in to watch them.
Mr. Landon was arrested last week after allegedly pepper spraying social workers who discovered his secret underground lair before barricading himself in the building. Officials were alerted by locals who suspected the children were living in cellars commonly used to store wine in the region.
Locals say they knew about Mr. Landon, who had been trying to buy cellars in the village for some time and was concerned about his strange behavior.
When the police were called, they broke into the building and found him living underground with his partner, who may be British, six children ranging from seven months to five years old, and several handguns.
Officials say the children were not registered in Austria and the couple claim they were both born in the UK, although checks are still being made.
Landon bought “up to five cellars.”
Erich Greil, deputy mayor of Orbitz, told the media that he believes Mr. Landon previously lived in England, where he worked in the information technology industry.
According to Mr. Greil, he bought up to five cellars in the village, apparently desiring one for each of his six children.
Books published on the Internet under his name include “Dirty Justice”, “The Judas Principle”, and “The Destructive Effect of Information Technology on Human Intellectual Development”.
According to media reports, he also wrote a musical about Austrian rock star Falco, best known for his 1985 hit “Rock Me Amadeus”, who died in a car accident in the Dominican Republic in 1998. time, claims to have found the body and that the true cause of death was covered up.
Reports say that Mr. Landon is a “doomsday preparer”, someone preparing for an expected apocalyptic event by building safe houses and stocking up on food or weapons.
Local media also reported that he was connected to the Reichsburger movement, an extremist group that considers the state illegitimate, whose members were arrested for attempting a coup d’état in Germany last year, but local police downplayed these reports.
Despite initial concerns, local authorities say they have no evidence of child abuse. The children were examined by doctors, and after Landon’s arrest, they were released, and prosecutors said that he did not pose a danger to children.