Anders Behring Breivik Unmoved by Tape of Victims’ Screams
A taped phone call went some of the way to establish the full horror of what Anders Behring Breivik did in just three hours one afternoon last summer. “He’s coming, he’s coming,” said Renate Taarnes in a terrified whisper. The room at Oslo’s central criminal court was silent as she explained to the telephone operator that she had barricaded herself in a toilet in the cafe on the island of Utøya after hearing shooting. By the time the 22-year-old emerged from her hiding place 12 of her friends were lying dead on the cafe floor.
Taarnes’s emergency call was deemed too harrowing to be broadcast on the live TV feed which was covering the first day of Breivik’s 10-week trial. But as the recording played inside the courtroom the defendant appeared untroubled. He knew it was he who fired those shots, he who prompted those screams. His face gave little away.
Breivik’s small, narrow eyes stared straight ahead. His jaw, framed by a thin, angular beard, did not drop. It was only the bulge of his Adam’s apple as he gulped down saliva which suggested he was finding the experience emotionally taxing.
From the moment he entered the court, Breivik appeared defiant. After being released from his handcuffs the 33-year-old greeted waiting photographers with a closed fist salute. Asked to enter a plea, he admitted he had indeed planted the enormous car bomb which killed eight people in Oslo’s government district on 22 July last year. And he accepted that he gone on to murder 69 others, mostly teenagers, when he made his way to Utøya where the Norwegian Labour party was holding a youth camp. But he was not ready to accept his guilt.
“I acknowledge the acts,” said Breivik, to a courtroom packed with many of those who managed to dodge his bullets and bombs, as well as the families of some who didn’t. “But I do not plead guilty.” His justification? “I did it in self-defence.”
He had already announced that he did not recognise the Norwegian court - because, he said, it received its mandate “from political parties who support multiculturalism”.
Details gave an insight into Breivik’s calculated mind. He programmed the satnav in his hire car before leaving his mother’s flat to take him from Oslo’s government district - where he planted his lethal fertiliser bomb - to Utvika, the village opposite the island of Utøya. Arriving at Utvika, he called up the island administration and told them they needed to send a boat to pick him up: he was a police officer, he assured them, and had been dispatched to reassure the campers following bombings in Oslo.
He plotted the attacks from a single bedroom at his mother’s flat, using a computer on which the prosecution claimed he once spent a whole year playing the World of Warcraft game “full time”.
In court he showed no remorse. The only time he appeared to show any emotion was when prosecutors played a 12-minute propaganda video he had posted on YouTube shortly before carrying out the attacks. He wiped away tears as he watched the film, which purported to show the threat of “the rise of cultural Marxism in western Europe” and “the Islamic colonisation” of Norway and beyond. This amateur film spliced together still images, including a cover of the Spectator magazine, a cartoon of a headscarved woman with bomb in place of a pregnant belly, and at least half a dozen scenes showing knights wearing the St George’s flag.