Mass murderer Anders Behring Breivik yesterday said he regretted "not killing more" in his twin terrorist attacks last year, after an Oslo court declared him sane and convicted him for the slaughter of 77 people in the worst act of violence in Norway since the Second World War.
A panel of five judges rejected the views of one group of psychiatrists, which held that the 33-year-old far-right fanatic was psychotic when he detonated a bomb in central Oslo, killing eight people, and shot dead 69 others, mostly teenagers, attending a political summer camp in July last year.
Instead, they sided with a second team which concluded that Breivik is sane and guilty of terrorism and premeditated murder. Sentencing him to a maximum of 21 years in jail, with a minimum term of 10 years, they were unanimous in their verdict that he was mentally fit and bore full responsibility for his attacks. Breivik could spend the rest of his life in jail if at the end of his sentence he is still considered a threat to society.
The judges said Breivik's admission during the trial that his claims to be a member of a non-existent "Knights Templar" organisation were "pompous" and "exaggerated" had provided conclusive proof of his sanity.
Dressed in a dark suit, Breivik gave his habitual clenched fist salute on his arrival in court. When the verdict was read out, he was unable to suppress a smirk of satisfaction; he had insisted during his trial that to be declared insane "would be a fate worse than death" and clearly welcomed the court's description of him as a terrorist extremist.
Later, reading from a prepared statement, Breivik told the crowded Oslo court that he apologised to "militant nationalists" for not killing more people during the attacks. He added that he would not appeal against the judgement "because this would legitimise the court".
Breivik had argued that his attacks were "cruel but necessary" to prevent Norway being "swamped by Muslims". He has said he plans to write and publish a book while in jail and he is reported to have a following on the internet. Fears have been voiced in Norway that he will become a martyr figure for right-wing fanatics worldwide.
Yesterday's verdict was the final day of a traumatic trial which opened in April. The ruling was delivered to a hushed courtroom filled with the relatives of Breivik's victims and survivors of his attacks. Several had amputated limbs. Many hugged each other as the verdict was read out. Some wept openly.
Per Balch Soerensen, whose teenage daughter was shot dead by Breivik while attending the Norwegian Labour Party summer camp on the fjord island of Utoya, welcomed the verdict. "Now we won't hear about him for quite a while. Now we can have peace and quiet," he said. Other relatives said the verdict was a "victory".
Breivik spent years planning his attacks after becoming obsessed with far-right ideology and violent computer games. On 22 July last year, he detonated a 950kg bomb in Oslo's government quarter, killing eight people and wounding dozens.
Dressed as a police officer, he drove a hire car to Utoya, north-west of Oslo. Using an automatic rifle, he shot dead 69 Labour party members, whom he accused of spreading multiculturalism. An inquiry found that police could have stopped Breivik sooner if they had responded more quickly.
Breivik will serve his sentence in the Ila prison in Oslo. He can use a computer but has no internet access.Reuse content