A man who was discovered living in an Austrian cellar with his six British-born children is a ‘Doomsday prepper’ who previously worked in IT in London, according to officials.
Tom Landon (54) is said to be a conspiracy theorist who wrote several self-published books denouncing Austria’s government.
He is believed to have lived in a network of cellars underneath a building guarded by security cameras in the village of Orbitz, near the Czech border, for about nine months.
He reportedly bought the property through a British company but was not permitted to use it for residential purposes.
Photos of the area where he was arrested show two entrances to the home.
In one, steps leads down to an arched doorway, while the other shows a sloped path that sinks below street-level, leading to a bunker-like building.
Solar-powered CCTV cameras appeared to have been hooked up to watch over the entrances.
Mr Landon was arrested last week after allegedly firing pepper spray at social workers who discovered his secret underground lair, before barricading himself in.
The officials had been alerted by residents who suspected children were living in the cellars, which are typically used to store wine.
Neighbours said Mr Landon had been trying to buy cellars in the village for a while, and they had been concerned by his erratic behaviour.
When police were called, they stormed the building and found him living underground with his partner – who may be British – six children aged between seven months and five years, and several guns.
The couple claim they were both born in the UK and there are no official records of the children in Austria.
Erich Greil, the deputy mayor of Orbitz, said he believed Mr Landon had previously been living in England where he worked in IT.
He had bought up to five cellars in the village, apparently wanting one for each of his six children.
Titles of his books include Dirty Justice, The Judas Principle and The Destructive Effect of Information Technology on Human Intellectual Development.
According to media reports, he has also written a musical about Austrian rocker Falco, who died in a car crash in the Dominican Republic in 1998.
Mr Landon, who was living on the island, claims to have found the body of the Rock Me Amadeus singer and believes there was a cover-up about the cause of death.
Reports suggest Mr Landon is a “Doomsday prepper” – someone who prepares for an anticipated apocalyptic event by building safe houses and stockpiling food or weapons.
Despite initial fears, there is no evidence that the children were mistreated.
Mr Landon was released after his arrest and the children were temporarily taken into care, police said.
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