Anders Behring Breivik

Crime Files

How could Norway produce such a guy?

Nora Thorp Bjornstad, Evil Up Close: Crusader for Death – Anders Behring Breivik

Anders Behring Breivik is born in London on 13 February 1979. His father, Jens Breivik, is based in London and works as a diplomat for the Norwegian Embassy. His mother, Wenche Behring, works as a nurse. Within a year of Breivik’s birth the couple separate. Wenche takes her son back to Norway and brings him up with her daughter from a previous marriage. 

During Breivik’s young life he’s taken back and forth to see his father in London. But in 1983 his father marries for a third time and the newly-wed couple are subsequently posted to the Norwegian Embassy in Paris. Around the same time in Oslo, a four year old Breivik risks being taken away from his mother, as the Norwegian childcare authorities deem her unfit to look after him. Jens Breivik applies for custody of his son, but is refused. At six-years-old and still living with his mother, Breivik is becoming more and more unruly and aggressive in the classroom. His unsettled background isn’t helping his behaviour. However, he still continues to visit his father and step-mother in France, and enjoys staying at their apartment and holiday home in Normandy.

Unfortunately his father’s third marriage breaks down in 1991, and this also coincides with Breivik going off the rails. As a teenager he’s rebellious and enjoys being a graffiti artist. He takes it very seriously but ends up being caught by the police. When his father finds out he’s been arrested, it’s the last straw and he decides to cut all ties with him. Breivik, angry with his father for a string of failed marriages, also stops all contact, although he does call his father a few times over the intervening years.

At 15-years-old Breivik makes a powerful statement by turning to God and is confirmed into the Lutheran Church of Norway. By this time he’s becoming passionately obsessed about an imminent Muslim takeover of Europe. As a result of his beliefs he tries to enrol into the Norwegian Army but is rejected after he’s found to be unfit for military service.As the new millennium begins Breivik decides to act. Eleven years later Norway will witness the worst terrorist atrocities ever seen in the country.

The Arrest

"I am not sorry and I would do the same thing all over again." Anders Behring Breivik, BBC News Online, 14 April 2012The SWAT team arrive but are immediately mistaken by the teenagers to be Breivik’s accomplices. After reassurances, they are directed to the location of the gunman. All around them the sound of rapid gun shots being fired can be heard.Unexpectedly, Breivik is seen walking towards them with his hands above his head. He’s thrown his weapons to the side of him. There is no struggle and it’s an easy arrest. Chillingly, the police discover that Breivik doesn’t stop because he’s run out of ammunition, he wants to be caught.On 25 July 2011 Breivik is charged with two counts of terrorism under Norwegian law; the first for “destabilising or destroying basic functions of society”; the second for “creating serious fear in the population”. He’s held in custody for an initial eight weeks, with the first four being in solitary confinement.

The Investigation

“He’s a calculating individual with a plan for everything” Evil Up Close: Crusader for Death – Anders Behring BreivikThe police have Breivik in custody but they need to understand what caused a Norwegian national to murder his own people. They begin to investigate and Breivik’s own 1,500 page manifesto holds the key.It emerges that in the eleven years leading up to the attacks Breivik changes from a shy quiet teenager to a muscle-bound lone activist eager to enforce his extreme views on the world. But what causes this change?At 20-years-old he joins Norway’s Fermskrittspartiet - The Progress Party. It’s the largest far-right group in the country. Breivik holds several political posts in the party's youth league. Several people remember him as being a normal well-dressed and modest young man. However, he mainly lives an online existence with no dealings with the real world. He’s careful to keep his own political beliefs and his manifesto secret, especially from his friends. He’s meticulously careful not to reveal too much information that might upset his grand plans. He does however start to post more controversial opinionsAround this time he starts to improve his physique by getting up at 6am every day and enduring a harsh training regime, involving steroids. It’s also alleged that he’s undergone cosmetic procedures on his face to achieve the ultimate Aryan look. He believes he’s a Knights Templar, the Christian sect that vowed to destroy Islam.From 2002 to 2006 Breivik puts all efforts into raising funds. He sets up a computer programming business. It’s successful but eventually Breivik declares himself bankrupt and the company is closed. At this point he’s forced to move back in with his mother. He’s becoming increasingly critical of multiculturalism. His hatred of Muslims stems from the fact he believes them to be a threat to Norwegian society.In 2009 Breivik withdraws from society and stays in his room at his mother’s house playing computer games. He’s taken a year out to study World of Warcraft and improve his marksmanship. It’s also a good cover story to help him write his manifesto and to find contacts from the online world that are sympathetic to his cause.His manifesto is really a guide for anyone wishing to follow in his footsteps and details every issue and problem he faces in his crusade. It exposes how cold and calculating he really is and also reveals the scientific approach he takes with his work. Worryingly Breivik appears to be two people. To his friends he’s just a normal average guy.Around this time he also creates a new business called Breivik Geofarm. It’s a vegetable farm set up to help him legally buy fertiliser that he’ll use to make his bomb.In 2010 he tries to buy illegal weaponry in Prague but this trip proves fruitless. Instead he uses legal channels in his own country, and due to Norwegian law he has to attend a local shooting club in order to own a gun. He’s licensed to hold a semi-automatic 9mm Glock 17 pistol and a semi-automatic Ruger Mini-14 rifle for shooting deer.By 2011 he’s moved to a farm in the small rural town of Rena, north east of Oslo. He’s hoping that he won’t draw attention to himself in the countryside, as the final phase of his deadly plan approaches. However, a local farmer has concerns for his new neighbour, as he knows the land is not suitable for vegetables and is seeing an awful lot of fertiliser arriving. Unfortunately the neighbour doesn’t alert the authorities.

Timeline

1994  Breivik is confirmed into the Lutheran Church of Norway2000  Breivik decides now is the time to act and rid Norway of Multiculturalism22 July 20113.26pm  A bomb goes off in Oslo close to the Government Buildings. Eight people are killed and hundreds more are injured4.57pm  Breivik arrives at Utoeya Island6.25pm  SWAT team arrives at Utoeya Island6.27pm  Breivik surrenders. He’s murdered 69 people and injured 33 in less than 90mins25 July 2011  Breivik is charged with two counts of terrorism under Norwegian law14 April 2012  Breivik’s trial begins

24 August 2012  Breivik is found guilty. The court declares him to be sane and he is sentenced to 21 years imprisonment

The Trial

“The killing spree was a preventative attack against state traitors, who were guilty of ethnic cleansing because they supported a multicultural society.”Anders Behring Breivik, BBC News Online, 16 April 2012On Monday 16 April, Norway’s trial of the century begins in Oslo’s District Court. A newly constructed custom-made courtroom is specially created to hold everyone that will need to be involved. The trial’s main aim is to work out whether Breivik is criminally insane or mentally stable.Breivik pleads not guilty to the two terrorism charges. He acknowledges he committed the acts but he does not accept the criminal responsibility. He also tells the judge that he doesn’t recognise the Norwegian courts as they’re supported by a government that encourages multiculturalism.Breivik takes the stand and delivers a 13 page statement on his political views. He reveals that he belongs to the Knights Templar and acted to defend Norway against immigration and multiculturalism. The prosecution team led by Svein Holden reveals that investigators could find no evidence to support Breivik’s claims that a secret resistance movement called the Knights Templar existed. An initial psychiatric report finds Breivik criminally insane, which Breivik dismisses as a lie. A subsequent and later psychiatric report finds Breivik is mentally stable and accountable for his actions.

Details emerge that Breivik had initially wanted three car bombs, but plans had to be scaled back when he realised how difficult it would be to make them. He wanted to destroy the government and also behead the former Prime Minister who had been at Utoeya earlier on that July day. He offers an apology to the innocent people who just happened to be in the area when the Oslo bomb went off, but doesn’t apologise to the victims on Utoeya, who he claims are legitimate targets.For Breivik the most important outcome for the trial would be that he is found to be mentally stable. He believes that if he’s committed to a psychiatric ward it would be a fate worse than death.On 24 August 2012, the court declares Breivik to be sane and sentences him to 21 years in prison, the maximum sentence allowed for the crimes he committed. This may be extended at a later date if Breivik is still considered to be a danger to society.

The Crimes

“I saw him standing 10 metres from me, shooting at the people who were swimming. He aimed his machine gun at me and I screamed”Adrian Pracon, BBC News Online, 26 July 2011On 22 July 2011, the day Breivik has been planning for many years dawns. One of his first actions is to send himself a test email. Contained within it is his manifesto, about to be sent to 1,000 individuals throughout the globe. He also releases a 12-minute film presenting the evils of multiculturalism and Islamic demographic warfare. He hopes to attract like-minded people to his crusade.Breivik leaves his farm in Rena with a home-made fertiliser bomb in the back of his car. In the afternoon he drives his car into Oslo. He tries to park it in a space he’s carefully selected to ensure his target (the government building) collapses. But a car is already parked in the space he wants, so he chooses an alternative location a couple of hundred metres away.At 3.26pm the bomb goes off in Oslo killing eight people and injuring hundreds more. The windows of the Prime Minister’s office are blown out and the scene resembles a war zone. Bloodied Norwegians stumble around on the ground unsure as to what has just happened. Crucially the government building is still standing. Allowing for this type of failure in his manifesto, Breivik resorts to Plan B.One hour and thirty minutes from Oslo is the island of Utoeya. It’s where the Labour Party’s Youth League has gathered for their summer camp. On the island news about the Oslo terrorist attack starts to filter through. Everyone is shocked but it’s decided that the safest place for them is Utoeya. Unfortunately it’s a bad decision; unbeknown to the occupants of the island, they are actually the terrorist’s next target.Breivik arrives at the lake at 4.57pm. He’s dressed as a policeman and armed with a pistol and automatic rifle. He asks a ferryman to take him across to the island. When the teenagers see the policeman arriving they start to feel a lot safer. Lulling them into a false sense of security, Breivik beckons them to come towards him. But once close enough he opens fire and operates a shoot to kill policy. Everyone he comes across is shot dead. To ensure death an additional shot is fired.With the terrifying realisation that a gunman is on the loose, the teenagers try to find shelter in rooms, or in undergrowth. They cower in fear but keep silent, frantically texting their parents to alert them to the danger they’re in. They also beg their parents not to call as they don’t want to risk the gunman finding them. Others run to the freezing waters surrounding the island to escape, but they are easy targets for Breivik who fires mercilessly into the water.At 5.40pm a SWAT team is despatched to Utoeya. They arrive but there is difficulty in finding a boat big enough to carry them across to the island. They arrive on the island at 6.25pm. By this time Breivik has killed 69 and injured 33 others in less than 90 minutes.