Anders Breivik admits massacre but pleads not guilty claiming it was self defence


A right wing extremist who admitted killing 77 people in a gun and bomb rampage in Norway last year has pleaded not guilty to criminal charges, claiming he was acting in self defence.

Anders Behring Breivik, 33, admitted killing 69 people in a mass shooting at a Labor Party organised youth camp on Utoya Island, 25 miles outside Oslo, as well as killing eight others in a car bombing in the Norwegian capital’s government district.

Upon entering the courtroom and having his cuffs removed, Breivik put his right hand to his heart and extended it into a closed fist salute before shaking hands with prosecutors and court officials.

Sitting behind bullet-proof glass, Breivik used his opening comments to say "I do not recognise the Norwegian court. You have got your mandate from political parties who support multiculturalism.”

He added that he does not recognise the authority of Judge Wenche Elisabeth Arntzen as she is known to be a personal friend of the sister of former Norwegian Prime Minister and Labor Party leader Gro Harlem Brundtland.

Wearing a dark suit, a loosely knotted tie and sporting a thin beard, a smirking Breivik told the court: "I admit to the acts, but not criminal guilt," insisting he had acted in self-defense. Breivik has said the attacks were necessary to protect Norway from multiculturalism and Islam, adding they were intended to punish "traitors" whose pro-immigration policies were contaminating Norwegian blood.

Breivik remained expressionless as the terror and murder charges against him were read out, and when details of his planning and descriptions of how each victim died, were given.

Suppressing yawns, cracking his knuckles and taking sips of water, Breivik stared down at the indictment papers as prosecutors gave detailed reports of the massacre. Some descriptions were so graphic that Norwegian television censored them.

As an anti-Islamic propaganda video he posted on YouTube was played to the court, the previously emotionless Breivik began to cry, wiping tears from his cheeks with trembling hands.

"I think he feels sorry for himself," said Mette Yvonne Larsen, one of the lawyers representing Breivik’s victims. "His project didn't work out, that's why he's crying. He's not crying for the victims ... he's crying over his extremely childish film."

After a break for lunch, Breivik sat stony-faced as prosecutors presented CCTV footage of the Oslo explosion, which took place on July 22 last year. The blast ripped through the government headquarters, blowing out windows and filling surrounding streets with smoke and debris.

Prosecutors were then played a recording of an emergency call made by one of the summer campers hiding in the bathroom of a café on Utoya Island.

As 13 people in the cafe were shot dead, Renate Taarnes screamed "There's shooting all the time, I've seen many injured. He's inside". With shots ringing out in the background she was heard saying "He's coming... he's coming".

Breivik shot most of his victims several times, often using the first shot to immobilise his target, then killing them with a second shot to the head.

Police took over an hour to get to the island, delayed by chaos in Oslo in the aftermath of the bombing.

More than 200 people in the purpose built courtroom heard how Breivik had been living with his mother in Oslo before renting a farm, which he used as a cover for large orders of fertilizer with which he made the bomb.

Prosecutors said how Breivik was obsessed with the World of Warcraft video game, which prompted a judge to ask if the game was violent. Breivik smiled as an image of his World of Warcraft character was shown to the court.

Disguised as a police officer, Breivik managed to lure some of his victims out of hiding, convincing them that help had arrived. Other victims were shot as they jumped into the water surrounding the island. Prosecutor Inga Bejer Engh spoke of the "panic and mortal fear in children, youths and adults" trapped on the island.

A key issue in the 10-week trial will be the state of Breivik’s mental health. If deemed mentally competent by the five judge panel, Breivik would face a maximum prison sentence of 21 years, but could be held indefinitely if still considered a threat at the end of his sentence. If declared insane, he would be held in a psychiatric institution indefinitely, with periodic reviews.

An initial psychiatric evaluation concluded that Breivik was criminally insane but after criticism of that verdict, a second examination was commissioned. The result of that examination, completed last week, found no evidence of mental illness.

While he faces spending the rest of his life behind bars, Breivik is fighting to prove his sanity, saying being labeled insane would be a "fate worse than death".

Breivik’s defence team has called 29 witnesses to argue his sanity, aiming to prove Breivik’s views on multiculturalism are shared by many others and are not the result of psychosis.

His proposed witnesses include Mullah Krekar, the founder of Islamist group Ansar al-Islam, who was recently jailed in Norway for making death threats, and "Fjordman", a right-wing blogger who has had a profound influence on Breivik.

There is fear in Norway that Breivik will succeed in turning the trial into an international platform for his extremist views.

In a 1,500 page manifesto he posted online before the killing, Breivik wrote "Your arrest will mark the initiation of the propaganda phase....Your trial offers you a stage to the world."

In a recent letter seen by the VG newspaper, Breivik said “"The court case looks like it will be a circus ... it is an absolutely unique opportunity to explain the idea of (the manifesto) to the world."

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
There will be a chance to bid for a rare example of the SAS Diary, collated by a former member of the regiment in the aftermath of World War II but only published – in a limited run of just 5,000 – in 2011
charity appealTime is running out to secure your favourite lot as our auction closes at 2pm today
Arts and Entertainment
Bianca Miller and Katie Bulmer-Cooke are scrutinised by Lord Sugar's aide Nick Hewer on The Apprentice final
tvBut Bianca Miller has taken on board his comments over pricing
Life and Style
Approaching sale shopping in a smart way means that you’ll get the most out of your money
life + styleSales shopping tips and tricks from the experts
ebooksA year of political gossip, levity and intrigue from the sharpest pen in Westminster
Elton John and David Furnish exchange marriage vows
peopleSinger posts pictures of nuptials throughout the day
in picturesWounded and mangy husky puppy rescued from dump
David Silva, Andy Carroll, Arsene Wenger and Radamel Falcao
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Project Director / Operations Director

£50000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is an incredible opportunity for a ...

Recruitment Genius: Sales Administrator

£16000 - £17000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A Sales Administrator is requir...

Recruitment Genius: EWI / IWI Installer

£23000 - £25000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This leading provider of design...

Ashdown Group: IT Support Analyst - Chessington

£25000 per annum: Ashdown Group: IT Service Desk Analyst - Chessington, Surrey...

Day In a Page

Surrounded by high-rise flats is a little house filled with Lebanon’s history - clocks, rifles, frogmen’s uniforms and colonial helmets

Clocks, rifles, swords, frogmen’s uniforms

Surrounded by high-rise flats is a little house filled with Lebanon’s history
Return to Gaza: Four months on, the wounds left by Israel's bombardment have not yet healed

Four months after the bombardment, Gaza’s wounds are yet to heal

Kim Sengupta is reunited with a man whose plight mirrors the suffering of the Palestinian people
Gastric surgery: Is it really the answer to the UK's obesity epidemic?

Is gastric surgery really the answer to the UK's obesity epidemic?

Critics argue that it’s crazy to operate on healthy people just to stop them eating
Homeless Veterans appeal: Christmas charity auction Part 2 - now LIVE

Homeless Veterans appeal: Christmas charity auction

Bid on original art, or trips of a lifetime to Africa or the 'Corrie' set, and help Homeless Veterans
Pantomime rings the changes to welcome autistic theatre-goers

Autism-friendly theatre

Pantomime leads the pack in quest to welcome all
The week Hollywood got scared and had to grow up a bit

The week Hollywood got scared and had to grow up a bit

Sony suffered a chorus of disapproval after it withdrew 'The Interview', but it's not too late for it to take a stand, says Joan Smith
From Widow Twankey to Mother Goose, how do the men who play panto dames get themselves ready for the performance of a lifetime?

Panto dames: before and after

From Widow Twankey to Mother Goose, how do the men who play panto dames get themselves ready for the performance of a lifetime?
Thirties murder mystery novel is surprise runaway Christmas hit

Thirties murder mystery novel is surprise runaway Christmas hit

Booksellers say readers are turning away from dark modern thrillers and back to the golden age of crime writing
Anne-Marie Huby: 'Charities deserve the best,' says founder of JustGiving

Anne-Marie Huby: 'Charities deserve the best'

Ten million of us have used the JustGiving website to donate to good causes. Its co-founder says that being dynamic is as important as being kind
The botanist who hunts for giant trees at Kew Gardens

The man who hunts giants

A Kew Gardens botanist has found 25 new large tree species - and he's sure there are more out there
The 12 ways of Christmas: Spare a thought for those who will be working to keep others safe during the festive season

The 12 ways of Christmas

We speak to a dozen people who will be working to keep others safe, happy and healthy over the holidays
Birdwatching men have a lot in common with their feathered friends, new study shows

The male exhibits strange behaviour

A new study shows that birdwatching men have a lot in common with their feathered friends...
Diaries of Evelyn Waugh, Virginia Woolf and Noël Coward reveal how they coped with the December blues

Famous diaries: Christmas week in history

Noël Coward parties into the night, Alan Clark bemoans the cost of servants, Evelyn Waugh ponders his drinking…
From noble to narky, the fall of the open letter

From noble to narky, the fall of the open letter

The great tradition of St Paul and Zola reached its nadir with a hungry worker's rant to Russell Brand, says DJ Taylor
A Christmas ghost story by Alison Moore: A prodigal daughter has a breakthrough

A Christmas ghost story by Alison Moore

The story was published earlier this month in 'Poor Souls' Light: Seven Curious Tales'