Locals hardly noticed the Norwegian living amongst them in the sleepy village of Salon La Tour in Correze in France. Known for his taste in military clothing, his camouflage-painted cars and gothic music, 40-year-old Kristian Vikernes had a secret past.
He was a convicted murderer in his home country, and his extreme-right-wing views were expressed on his website where, under the name of Varg, he attacked religions, promoted paganism and war against Islam, and called on people to vote for France’s Front Nationale. He was in contact with Anders Breivik, and received a copy of his manifesto before Breivik committed the Utoya atrocity.
Vikernes arrest on Tuesday on suspicion of preparing a terrorist attack has stunned his neighbours.
“He was someone who seemed very linked to his children. I had learned he was musician. So I wasn’t surprised to see him permanently here. I could hear some notes of music. I am really astonished,” said one man living nearby.
French police moved in shortly after Vikernes’ wife legally bought four .22 rifles. In 1993 he was convicted for 21 years in Norway after stabbing a fellow “black metal” band member 20 times. He also burned down several churches, using a photo of the remains of one, a 12th century edifice, as an album cover. He was released after serving 16 years.
In 2009 he left Norway for France, and started a family. His 25-year-old wife, who was also arrested, is pregnant with their fourth child.