Man sets himself alight outside Anders Breivik trial as survivors relive ordeal


Click to follow
The Independent Online

An unidentified man was in hospital suffering from serious burns to his chest and abdomen yesterday after setting himself ablaze and attempting to break through a security cordon outside the Oslo court trying far-right mass killer Anders Behring Breivik.

Bystanders saw the man, purportedly a Norwegian, soak his pullover in flammable liquid and set himself alight outside the court building in central Oslo. Police guards managed to pounce on him and douse the blaze.

A video clip of the incident online showed police tending to him as he lay on the pavement after they removed his burning sweater and hat.

Police are still trying to establish the man's motives. "He is seriously injured. He has wounds on his chest and stomach," said Oslo police spokesman Finn Belle.

Breivik has admitted detonating a car bomb in central Oslo last July. Eight people were killed in the blast. He has also confessed to killing a further 69 mainly young people during a shooting rampage hours later at a Labour Party youth camp on the island of Utoya, north-west of the capital.

Breivik has claimed his victims betrayed Norway because they had embraced multiculturalism.

Yesterday at his trial, relatives of those killed heard harrowing accounts from two of Breivik's surviving victims who suffered gunshot wounds as they tried to escape Utoya.

Ina Rangoenes Libak, 22, who was working in a café on Utoya, told the court that nowadays she used "good make-up" to conceal the scars left behind on her face, breast and arms after being shot four times by Breivik. "I felt sure I was going to die. I remember all the shots as they hit me," she said.

She said that when she first heard shots she thought they were firecrackers. As soon as she realised what was happening, she and two others hid behind a piano in the café. But the killer tracked them down. Ms Libak was shot first in the arms, then in the jaw, and finally in the chest. Bleeding profusely, Ms Libak ran down a corridor. "I thought I was dying," she said.

Outside the café, fellow Labour Party youth members tore strips off their clothing and used them as tourniquets to stop the bleeding. The group then hid until the gunman was finally arrested.

Another survivor, 17-year-old Marta-Johanne Svendsen, was shot in the arm. She told the court how she was overwhelmed by "the worst screaming I have ever heard" as she ran through a field of tents filled with young campers suddenly aware of an impending massacre.

Ms Svendsen said she sought refuge in one of the island's buildings known as the schoolhouse. She recalled how, gripped by terror, those inside hid under beds as Breivik shot at them through windows. Breivik tried to shoot his way into the building, but eventually gave up because all the doors and windows had been barricaded. All 47 people who sought refuge in the building survived.

The trial is expected to end in July. The outcome will depend on whether judges conclude that Breivik was fully responsible for his actions or insane. The verdict will determine whether he is imprisoned or sent to a psychiatric institution.