Breivik regrets not killing more

The killer was smug and calm, but for survivors the verdict came as the start of a new life

PUBLISHED : Saturday, 25 August, 2012, 12:00am
UPDATED : Saturday, 25 August, 2012, 2:52am


A smug smile crossed the face of Anders Breivik when Judge Wenche Elisabeth Arntzen read a ruling that found him legally sane and sentenced him to 21 years in jail.

When the sentence was read, a low mutter rumbled through the courtroom, which was packed with survivors of the July 22, 2011 massacre and friends and relatives of the dead, as well as a host of international journalists and cameramen.

Minutes before the verdict, when Breivik entered the courtroom dressed in a dark suit and grey tie, he had raised his clenched fist in a right-wing salute as soon as court security officers released his handcuffs.

The killer then sat in court mostly impassively, fiddling with a pen - the flexible kind that cannot be used as a weapon - and occasionally sipping water, as the presiding judges read out the lengthy justification for the sentence.

Later Breivik said he would not appeal the sentence.

"Since I don't recognise the authority of the court I cannot legitimise the Oslo district court by accepting the verdict," he said. "At the same time I cannot appeal the verdict, because by appealing it I would legitimise the court."

Then, Breivik said he wanted to apologise, but not to the victims, mostly teenagers gunned down in one of the worst massacres in modern history.

"I wish to apologise to all militant nationalists that I wasn't able to execute more," Breivik said.

Lawyers, police and relatives and friends of the dead quietly followed the proceedings in the heavily guarded courtroom, which was purpose-built for Breivik's trial.

Among them were leaders and members of the Labour Party's youth wing - the target of Breivik's mass slaughter on Utoeya island - who could be seen hugging one another at the start of the hearing.

Relieved survivors took to Twitter yesterday to express their delight moments after Breivik's sentencing.

"YEEEEEEESSSSSSSS!!!", said Emma Martinovic, while Viljar Hansse, who took one of Breivik's bullets to the head, tweeted: "Finished. Period."

"This crap is finally over. Life can start now," another Utoeya survivor, Ingrid Nymoen, said on the micro-blogging website.

"I'm going to fully live the first day of the rest of my life," said Frida Holm Skoglund.

Knut Storberget, who was Norway's justice minister at the time of the attacks, hailed the verdict, telling television channel TV2: "It's a good basis for him to stay in prison for the rest of his life.

"It's the heaviest sentence he could get."

"It's a good and correct ruling," tabloid VG wrote in an editorial on its online edition.

"Anders Behring Breivik knew what he was doing, that it was evil," it added. "It is morally right that he who does wrong should be held responsible."

Even though it was difficult for families of the victims to again listen to the horrific details of the massacre in court yesterday, most Norwegians expressed their relief and satisfaction that the whole case was finally over.

"I'm very relieved, I feel that justice was done," said Unni Espeland Marcussen, who lost her 17-year-old daughter Andrine on Utoeya, in a post on the website of the daily Aftenposten.

Breivik "will have to take responsibility for everything he did and serve his prison term", she added. "And that seems right to me, because I think he knew what he was doing."

Psychiatrist Kjersti Narud told the NTB news agency that the verdict was fair.

"Breivik showed a high degree of consistency during his detention," she said.

"I can't rule out that he might have been suffering from psychosis at the time of the attacks, but if he was, it could not have been extreme enough to exempt him from criminal responsibility."