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Witnesses describe island massacre in Norway trial

Anders Behring Breivik, center, looks on as his

Anders Behring Breivik, center, looks on as his lawyers Geir Lippestad, left, and Vibeke Hein Baera speak during his trial as the court hears today testimony about the Utoeya massacre. (May 3, 2012) Credit: AFP/Getty Images

OSLO, Norway - Witnesses in Norway recounted Thursday how mass murderer Anders Behring Breivik — armed and in police uniform — managed to trick his way onto a ferry to Utoya island, where he massacred 69 people in a shooting spree just hours after killing eight people in a bomb attack.

Jon Olson, captain of the MS Thorbjoern ferry, told the Oslo District Court about his "angst and full panic" as he frantically tried to contact police about the island attack after his ferry had docked at Utoya.

Breivik has admitted to the bombing in Oslo's government district and the subsequent shootings at a Labor Party youth camp on Utoya. He claims the July 22 attacks were "necessary" and that the 77 victims had betrayed Norway by embracing immigration.

Olson, who lost his partner, Monica Boesei, the second person to die in the shootings, said neither he nor his crew suspected the uniform-clad Breivik to be anything other than a police officer who had come to inform them about the Oslo attack. Breivik boarded the boat some two hours after setting off the bomb, together with Boesei and other passengers.

"I don't remember if I saw him shooting Monica, but I think I did," Olson calmly told the court about how he saw Breivik open fire on the island onto which Boesei had also just disembarked. Their two daughters lost a mother in the attacks, and Olson said 11-year-old Victoria still regularly cries herself to sleep.

Breivik, dressed in a black suit and gray tie, showed no emotion as Olson gave testimony a few meters (yards) away. He barely moved in his chair during the six-hour session as witnesses and police gave evidence on what was the 11th day of the terror trial. Occasionally, he poured himself a glass of water.

Investigating officers told how the heavily armed killer shot his victims, beginning with a security official on the island and then 68 others, mostly the youth who were participating in the summer retreat.

Breivik's weapons included a Ruger Mini-14 Ranch rifle, equipped with a bayonet; a pistol and more than 1,000 rounds of ammunition. He was also carrying a gas mask, a tourniquet, flashlight and three chocolate bars when he arrived on the island, police said.

Ballistics experts said the word "Mjolnir" — the hammer of the Norse god Thor — was etched onto the pistol handle in Norse runes, while "Gungnir" — a magical spear belonging to Odin, the king of the Norse gods — was written in marker pen on the rifle.

In earlier court sessions, Breivik has coldly described the meticulously planned attacks in gruesome detail.

Since he has admitted his actions, Breivik's mental state is the key issue for the trial to resolve. If found guilty and sane, Breivik would face 21 years in prison, although he can be held longer if deemed a danger to society. If declared insane, he would be committed to compulsory psychiatric care.

Breivik has said that being declared insane would be the worst thing that could happen to him because it would "delegitimize" his views.

Witnesses described Breivik as composed and behaving normally even as he arrived directly from the devastating car-bomb attack in central Oslo.

Simen Braenden Mortensen, a Labor Party youth member who registered Breivik's arrival at the ferry point, told the court that Breivik said he'd been sent to inform the youths on Utoya about the Oslo terror attack.

"He was carrying weapons. We don't see that every day in Norway," Mortensen told the court.


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