Norway attack suspect wants open hearing, in uniform

Mourners gather near to the massive field of flowers in front of the Oslo Cathedral in Oslo, Norway, today. Pic: AP

The man who has confessed to the twin terror attacks in Norway which killed 93 people will appear in court today and has requested an open hearing so he can explain his massacre to the public.

But prosecutors have asked that the court be closed to the public and media. They have also requested eight weeks to prepare their case, said Oslo District Court spokeswoman Irene Ramm.

Anders Behring Breivik, 32, has confessed he was behind the bombing in Oslo and gun massacre at a youth camp outside the capital, but denies criminal responsibility.

His lawyer, Geir Lippestad, told Norwegian broadcaster NRK that Breivik wants to wear a uniform for the hearing, but he did not know what kind.

Meanwhile, the search for victims continues.

Police have not yet released any names but Norway’s royal court said today that those killed on Utoya island included Crown Princess Mette-Marit’s stepbrother, an off-duty police officer, who was working there as a security guard.

Court spokeswoman Marianne Hagen said his name was Trond Berntsen, the son of Mette-Marit’s stepfather, who died in 2008.

In France, police were searching Breivik’s father’s home today.

About a dozen officers surrounded the property in Couranel in southern France, which had been cordoned off, entering and leaving at irregular intervals.

The regional gendarme service confirmed the house was that of Breivik’s father but would not comment on the search operation. News reports said Jens Breivik has not been in touch with his son for many years.

Friday’s bomb and gun attacks rattled Norway, a small and wealthy country unused to political violence, and known internationally as a peace mediator, prominent foreign aid donor and as home of the Nobel Peace Prize.

Survivors of the camp shooting on Utoya island described how a gunman dressed in a police uniform urged people to come closer and then opened fire, sending panicked youths fleeing into the water. Police said 86 people were killed.

About 90 minutes earlier, a car bomb exploded in the government district in central Oslo, killing seven.

More than 90 people were injured, and others remain missing at both crime scenes.

Norwegian newspaper Aftenposten reported that Breivik told investigators he had hoped to reach the island while former prime minister Harlem Brundtland was visiting the youth camp of Norway’s left-leaning Labour party, but got there after she had left. Oslo police spokesman Henning Holtaas declined to comment.

Breivik laid out his extreme nationalist philosophy as well as his attack methods in a 1,500-page manifesto. It also describes how he bought armour, guns, tons of fertiliser and other bomb components, stashed caches of weapons and wiped his computer hard drive – all while evading police suspicion and being nice to his neighbours.

Dr Colin Poole, head of surgery at Ringriket Hospital in Honefoss, north-west of Oslo, said the gunman used “dum dum” bullets designed to disintegrate inside the body and cause maximum internal damage. Poole said surgeons treating 16 gunshot victims have recovered no full bullets.

“These bullets more or less exploded inside the body,” Dr Poole said. “It’s caused us all kinds of extra problems in dealing with the wounds they cause, with very strange trajectories.”

Ballistics experts say “dum dum” bullets are also lighter in weight and can be fired with greater accuracy over varying distances.

  • Click to stay connected with more stories like this
  • Sign up here to receive news by email. Once per day, no spam.

Most Read in World