Anders Breivik: 'All the voices in my head told me not to do it'

After a week of testimony that has made Norway recoil, Breivik's account of his crimes reaches a harrowing new low

Relatives of the victims of Anders Behring Breivik wept and hugged each other in court yesterday as the Norwegian mass killer described in harrowing detail how he shot dead scores of teenagers who "begged for their lives" as he hunted them down at a Labour Party summer camp on an idyllic fjord island.

Lawyers had warned in advance that day five of Breivik's trial on charges of carrying out Norway's worst acts of violence since the Second World War would be the hardest so far for survivors and relatives of the dead. The far-right killer exceeded their worst expectations. He left out none of the chilling details in his grisly account of the mass slaughter he inflicted on his 69 terrified, mostly teenaged victims at the Utoya summer camp on 22 July last year.

Recalling how he used an automatic pistol and hunting rifle with a telescopic sight to gun down his prey – sometimes at point-blank range – he fell into the present tense when describing the horror he induced as, gun in hand, he walked into a café on the island where a group of terrified teenagers had sought refuge.

"Some of them are completely paralysed. They cannot run. They stand totally still. Two of them are curled up. This is something they never show on TV," Breivik said. "It was very strange." He explained how he had to reload after running out of ammunition: "They were begging for their lives. I just shot them in the head."

Many of the victims' relatives were sitting only a few feet behind the 33-year-old as he described the massacre. His words brought several of them to tears. A father who lost his son closed his eyes and squeezed them shut.

Breivik described how, disguised as a policeman, he took a ferry to the Utoya summer camp some 45 minutes by car from Oslo, after he had detonated a bomb in the centre of the Norwegian capital which killed eight people.

Remembering how he had taken along a supply of drinking water to cope with the "dry throat" he would suffer through stress, he said he was plagued by doubt and feelings of revulsion when confronted by his first two victims, Monic Boesei, a camp organiser, and Trond Berntsen, the island's security guard. "My whole body tried to revolt when I took the weapon in my hand. There were a hundred voices in my head saying 'Don't do it. Don't do it,'' he said. Breivik first shot Mr Berntsen in the head and then opened fire and killed Ms Boesei as she tried to run away.

Breivik said he targeted the teenagers because many of them would be future politicians who espoused the "Marxist multiculturalism" the far-right fanatic so detested. He spent over an hour on the island murdering the remaining 67 victims.

Several were gunned down as they strolled along Utoya's idyllic "Love Path". Others were shot dead in the water as they tried to swim to safety. In most cases the killer used one shot to immobilise his victims and another, aimed at the head, to kill them.

Two psychiatric reports have drawn contradictory conclusions about Breivik's sanity. Judges are expected to rule on the issue at the end of the trial. Their verdict will determine whether he is sent to prison or spends the rest of his life in psychiatric care.

Yesterday Breivik insisted he was not a psychiatric case as one doctor's report found. "I am a very likeable person under normal conditions," he told the court. He said he spent years deliberately dehumanising himself to prepare for the slaughter. "You cannot send an unprepared person into war." he said.

Breivik's testimony was considered too disturbing to be broadcast on Norwegian television. But friends and relatives of those he murdered and those who survived were able to watch the proceedings at 17 courthouses across the country where TV monitors of the Oslo trial had been set up.

Many were clearly devastated by what they saw and heard. "I'm going back to my home town tonight and I live by the sea," said Christin Bjelland, a spokeswoman for the victims' support group. "I have arranged with my husband to drive me out to the sea. I'm going to take a walk there and scream my head off."

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
ebooks
ebooksAn introduction to the ground rules of British democracy
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
SPONSORED FEATURES
Independent Dating
and  

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

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Interactive / Mobile Developer

£40000 - £45000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This digital production agency ...

Recruitment Genius: PHP Developer - Midweight

£40000 - £45000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This digital production agency ...

Recruitment Genius: Junior Front End Developer

£20000 - £30000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This digital production agency ...

Recruitment Genius: Front End Developer - Midweight / Senior

£35000 - £40000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This digital production agency ...

Day In a Page

Giants Club: After wholesale butchery of Idi Amin's regime, Uganda’s giants flourish once again

Uganda's giants are flourishing once again

After the wholesale butchery of Idi Amin's regime, elephant populations are finally recovering
The London: After 350 years, the riddle of Britain's exploding fleet is finally solved

After 350 years, the riddle of Britain's exploding fleet is finally solved

Archaeologists will recover a crucial item from the wreck of the London which could help shed more light on what happened in the vessel's final seconds
Airbus has patented a jet that could fly from London to New York in one hour

Airbus has patented a jet that could fly from London to New York in one hour

The invention involves turbojets and ramjets - a type of jet engine - and a rocket motor
10 best sun creams for kids

10 best sun creams for kids

Protect delicate and sensitive skin with products specially formulated for little ones
Tate Sensorium: New exhibition at Tate Britain invites art lovers to taste, smell and hear art

Tate Sensorium

New exhibition at Tate Britain invites art lovers to taste, smell and hear art
Ashes 2015: Nice guy Steven Finn is making up for lost time – and quickly

Nice guy Finn is making up for lost time – and quickly

He was man-of-the-match in the third Test following his recall to the England side
Ashes 2015: Remember Ashton Agar? The No 11 that nearly toppled England

Remember Ashton Agar?

The No 11 that nearly toppled England
Turkey-Kurdish conflict: Obama's deal with Ankara is a betrayal of Syrian Kurds and may not even weaken Isis

US betrayal of old ally brings limited reward

Since the accord, the Turks have only waged war on Kurds while no US bomber has used Incirlik airbase, says Patrick Cockburn
VIPs gather for opening of second Suez Canal - but doubts linger over security

'A gift from Egypt to the rest of the world'

VIPs gather for opening of second Suez Canal - but is it really needed?
Jeremy Corbyn dresses abysmally. That's a great thing because it's genuine

Jeremy Corbyn dresses abysmally. That's a great thing because it's genuine

Fashion editor, Alexander Fury, applauds a man who clearly has more important things on his mind
The male menopause and intimations of mortality

Aches, pains and an inkling of mortality

So the male menopause is real, they say, but what would the Victorians, 'old' at 30, think of that, asks DJ Taylor
Man Booker Prize 2015: Anna Smaill - How can I possibly be on the list with these writers I have idolised?

'How can I possibly be on the list with these writers I have idolised?'

Man Booker Prize nominee Anna Smaill on the rise of Kiwi lit
Bettany Hughes interview: The historian on how Socrates would have solved Greece's problems

Bettany Hughes interview

The historian on how Socrates would have solved Greece's problems
Art of the state: Pyongyang propaganda posters to be exhibited in China

Art of the state

Pyongyang propaganda posters to be exhibited in China
Mildreds and Vanilla Black have given vegetarian food a makeover in new cookbooks

Vegetarian food gets a makeover

Long-time vegetarian Holly Williams tries to recreate some of the inventive recipes in Mildreds and Vanilla Black's new cookbooks