During 90 minutes of agonising testimony, uninterrupted by questions, the far Right killer admitted that he methodically shot people as they climbed down a cliff in their desperation to escape.
Of Breivik’s 69 victims on the island – two drowned after running into the sea – 33 were under the age of 18. All were attending a Norwegian Labour party summer camp on 22 July last year. The youngest was a girl of 14.
Breivik shouted “You are going to die today, Marxists” as he carried out the massacre with a semi-automatic rifle and a handgun.
He claimed he was “a very likeable person under normal conditions”, but after 2006 he purposefully trained himself to shut off his emotions to train for the attacks.
When it came to shooting dead the first victim, Breivik said voices were telling him not to do it: “My whole body tried to revolt when I took the weapon in my hand. There were 100 voices in may head saying ‘Don’t do it, don’t do it.’”
During a meeting with this founding member of the “Knights Templar” in London, Breivik scribbled 50 pages of notes on how they would, together, “seize power in Western Europe”.
The third day of Breivik’s trial in Oslo heard him set out the ideological roots of the carnage he inflicted on 22 July last year, claiming 77 lives. But the flustered and perplexed killer wilted under cross-examination, eventually declaring that he wanted either freedom or the death penalty, because that was the only sentence he could “respect”.
The turning point in Breivik’s transformation into a “militant nationalist” with a “crusader identity” was a meeting with three men in London a decade ago. “I did not fully comprehend at the time how privileged I was to be in the company of some of the most brilliant political and military tacticians of Europe,” he wrote in his manifesto. “Some of us were unfamiliar with eachother beforehand, so I guess we all took a high risk meeting face to face.”
Why didn’t they just shoot him? Anders Breivik, I mean. Why didn’t the Norwegian police, surrounded by the carnage of Utoya Island, take the opportunity to end it all there and then.
Over the past couple of days I’ve been asked to do a number of interviews and write several articles on the wisdom of allowing Breivik his grotesque day in the sun. Should his trial be televised? Should he have been allowed to read out his rambling statement of self-justification? I’ve tried to answer sensibly. The appropriate interface between the media and the judicial process. Striking a balance over allowing a legitimate defence and political grandstanding. And all the time I’ve been thinking: “I wish they’d just killed him.”
It is of course a ridiculous thought. The Norwegian police officers who apprehended the perpetrator of the worst crime in their nation’s history showed immeasurable self-restraint. And suprajudicial assassinations are not the basis upon which secure and civilised societies are constructed. But I wish they’d shot him all the same.
The unidentified man thought to have been behind three recent shootings, including Monday’s killing of three children and a teacher at the school in southwestern city of Toulouse, may want to post his footage on the internet.
“A witness saw a small video camera around the killer’s neck,” Claude Gueant, the French interior minister, told Europe 1 radio on Tuesday.
“It’s a video camera worn in a harness on the chest and indeed he was seen, a witness said so, with this device,” Gueant said. “I don’t know if he filmed everything.”
Hands-free video cameras by manufacturers such as GoPro and Contour shoot HD video on memory cards with a wide-angle lens and excellent depth of field, allowing for objects near and far to remain in focus.
They can be mounted on helmets or chest harnesses, usually to film skiing, mountain biking, scuba diving or skydiving.
Breivik will be the first person in the country ever to be prosecuted for “performing an act of terrorism involving murder, with the intention of destabilising the basic functions of society,” a crime which carries a 21-year prison sentence, the maximum possible under Norwegian law.
But prosecutors said that they would proceed under the assumption that Breivik is criminally insane, seeking to have him committed to compulsory mental care rather than jail.
“The requirement that he be judged sane has not been fulfilled” Inga Bejer Engh, a prosecutor from the Oslo district court, said in a press conference after the 18-page indictment was made public. “We have found out that he is psychotic, and the commission have not had any protests against this. Because of this, he will be put in psychiatric care.”
She stressed however this could change once the court hears evidence from the team of psychiatrists currently carrying out a second psychiatric assessment of Breivik.
“Whether or not he is sane or not will probably be a central question during the trial,” she said.