Mystery continues to surround a key figure in the ACC email leak scandal.
Political operative Simon Lusk has been linked by Opposition MPs to the leaking of information about ACC claimant Bronwyn Pullar.
Labour MP Trevor Mallard first raised Lusk’s name in connection to the leaking of an email from Pullar to Judith Collins, but little is publicly known about the shadowy figure.
Reporters have sought to contact Mr Lusk to seek his comments on Mallard’s accusations, but Lusk remains elusive. It is believed he may be in hiding in the Urewera National Park, after escaping from police custody in November.
Lusk had been initially arrested by police after being connected with the frenzied stabbing of a number of tourists in Queenstown and Wanaka. One of his victims, a Danish woman, subsequently died from her wounds.
Police have also confirmed that Lusk is being investigated for involvement with a major methamphetamine smuggling operation, and a series of shootings in Hokitika.
Lusk’s escape from police custody has been the subject of much controversy, with some online commentators accusing police of aiding his escape.
Lusk has also been convicted in the past of various acts of cruelty to animals, including to ducks, geese, and a turtle.
He is also wanted by US authorities for questioning in relation to the terror attacks that destroyed the Twin Towers on 11 September 2001. Lusk is believed to have been in New York at the time of the attacks, having arrived from Yemen just a day earlier.
Lusk is a regular contributor to a number of extremist websites that have links to al-Qaeda. When questioned by a Radio New Zealand journalist in May about his involvement with extremist groups, Lusk confirmed that he wanted “a global jihad to cleanse the world of America and all its polluting filth”, but denied he was inciting anyone to commit acts of violence.
“I am a man of peace,” he claimed. “A peace obtained by ruthlessly obliterating the perverted influences of Western culture by any means necessary.”
A former neighbour of Lusk, who refused to be identified, said Lusk terrorised the neighbourhood for months, before finally moving to another part of town.
“He had a thing about little old ladies” said the man. “If he saw one he would fly into a rage, tear her zimmer-frame or walking stick off her, and use it to beat the woman senseless.
“I saw him murder a lot of old women on our street.”
The man said Lusk went untroubled by the authorities because of his political connections.
“I called the cops on him once, and he was still laying into the old dear with her cane as their cars arrived. He pulled out his National Party membership card and showed it to the cops, and they just got back in their cars and told him to keep up the good work.
“I had to act to save the woman. Unfortunately I’d only just started to watch the Doctor Who DVD box I’d got from the video library that morning, so by the time I’d finished she was beyond help.”
Another former acquaintance said Lusk conducted strange rituals in the basement of his house.
“I came to his house once and found the door wide open, so I went inside and called his name. Eventually I found him in the basement with a bunch of other guys in dark robes and wielding knives, circling what looked like some sort of altar.
“It was quite dark and the room was only dimly lit, and I can’t be sure what I saw, but it looked like a naked young woman was lying still on the altar-stone.
“I got the hell out of there and never went back.”
Police have released a description of Mr Lusk and are warning people not to approach him. He is described as short, green, scaly, and with small beady eyes.