On this day in 1996, Met Police intercepted a sulphuric acid bomb destined for Icelandic singer and world-renowned alt-pop star Björk, sent by her long-time stalker Ricardo Lopez. Today we revisit this sad and harrowing story.
When Björk arrived in London during the early nineties she was determined to put herself in the spotlight. The singer began to play clubs and find her fame and fortune and in 1993 began to receive the recognition she deserved for her truly original work. It was at this time that Ricardo Lopez’s obsession with the singer began.
At first, Björk provided Lopez with a welcomed escape from the pains of growing up. It provided him with a sense of freedom from what he felt was an inescapable situation. Lopez suffered from Gynecomastia, which is a rare genetic disease which causes male breast tissue to grow abnormally large. While the effects of the sickness are largely cosmetic, the emotional and mental strain this would’ve had put on a young man is understandable. Lopez was only 18 when he was watching a Björk video and he almost instantly became infatuated with her, even using her as his muse for his artwork.
Lopez began creating a huge library of diaries dedicated to the singer. He also began making videotape diaries where he would chronicle not only his growing obsession but tell the tale, through the eleven two hour tapes, of his sharp slip into a depression and self-loathing that he could not reconcile with.
The breaking point for Lopez arrived when it was announced that Björk was dating musician and actor Goldie. Their relationship had begun to gain notoriety and this provided the lit match to Lopez’s short fuse. The stalker soon decided that nobody could date the star, chillingly announcing “I’m just going to have to kill her. I’m going to send a package. I’m going to be sending her to hell.”
This is not a new concept to the world of pop stars. Sadly, all too often, they are the subjects of obsessive behaviour, but while many will peter out without indcient a few do end tragically. The most obvious case is John Lennon’s ‘fan’ and eventual murderer Mark Chapman. He approached John asking for an autograph before shooting him dead. Lopez though was a little more twisted in his plans.
Hampered by geography (he was in America while Björk was in London) Lopez devised a way to navigate his murderous plot. He decided to send Björk a letterbomb. His original plan was to send her a letterbomb filled with HIV contaminated syringes, in what must go down as one of the most disgustingly deranged plots ever. When this became unfeasible he settled on the equally upsetting bomb filled with sulphuric acid.
He made the bomb in a hollowed-out book which, when opened by the recipient, would spray sulphuric acid into her face and kill her. On September the 12th, he packaged up his device and sent the letter on to Björk’s London address. After sending the deadly package he set his video diary to record and began to make his last wishes.
He painted his face and head red and green, inscribed racial slurs on his walls (possibly another attempt at showing his hatred of Goldie), played Björk’s ‘I Remember You’ in the background, loaded his.38 calibre pistol, calmly stated “this is for you”, and took his own life, convinced that he would meet his idol in heaven.
(The video is available online but is so brutally shocking we have decided not to show it directly here, but it can be found by watching this edited video of the entire set of diary entries)
When the downstairs neighbours of Lopez began to see blood dripping from the ceiling of their apartment they called the police. The cops arrived to find Lopez’s decomposing body surrounded by a heap of videotapes. One, still in the camera was titled ‘The Last Day’ and was therefore watched first. Luckily, this allowed police to work with Scotland Yard to prevent Björk from opening the deadly package.
Björk released a statement once the news of the attempt on her life broke through to the tabloids. She appears in the video below, visibly shake, defiant, and yet utterly compassionate. She describes her sadness for the situation and sends special wishes to Lopez’s family.
It’s an extremely twisted and yet very sad tale. A man who had lost the majority of his friends and family found solace in an artist and her work. It’s sad to think, something which could’ve have been a light in Lopez’s life eventually became an inescapable darkness that would eventually consume him.