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Anders Breivik: Tears of a mass killer... but not for the 77 he slaughtered

By Tony Paterson in Oslo

There was only one, dramatic moment when Anders Behring Breivik seemed to crack yesterday.

Dressed in a dark blue suit, beige silk tie and wearing a thin chin beard, Norway's mass murderer sat in Oslo's court 250 at the opening of his trial for the slaughter of 77 people yesterday looking impassive and chillingly defiant. Sometimes he even smirked.

But suddenly the 33-year-old killer's lips began to pucker and tighten. His chin started to quiver uncontrollably. Then tears welled in his eyes and as he wiped them away with trembling fingers, it became obvious that the man responsible for Norway's worst act of violence since the Second World War was crying.

Was it a first sign of remorse? Not a bit of it. Breivik was overcome by emotion at the sound of his own voice. He wept as he watched the prosecution's recording of his own fanatical propaganda film, which he posted on the internet only hours before carrying out the twin acts of terrorism that have plunged Norway into the trauma from which it is still trying to recover. He told his lawyer later he found his film “emotional”.

Claiming that he was engaged in a European war against Marxist multiculturalism and Muslim domination, Breivik detonated a massive fertiliser bomb in Oslo's government district on July 22 last year that killed eight people and injured many others.

Disguised as a police commando, he then travelled to the fjord island of Utoya where several hundred young members of Norway's ruling Labour Party were attending a summer camp.

Equipped with a rifle, grenades and a handgun, he then set about systematically slaughtering 69 mostly teenage participants. Many were shot while they were in the water trying to escape. Some hid in trees. Scores more suffered horrific injuries.

But yesterday the self-confessed mass killer tried to cast himself in the role of Norway's lone crusader against the forces of pernicious multiculturalism.

The relatives and friends of those murdered by Breivik sat behind a bullet-proof screen in the extensively refurbished courtroom and watched aghast as the killer thrust his right arm forward in what appeared to be a clenched fist version of the Nazi salute as he entered the court.

“I don't recognise Norwegian courts because you get your mandate from the Norwegian political parties which support multiculturalism,” Breivik told the presiding judge Wenche Elisabeth Arntzen quietly. “I admit to the acts, but not to criminal guilt. I do not plead guilty, I was acting in self-defence,” Breivik insisted.

Eda Knutsen, a young survivor of the Utoya massacre, was in court to witness Norway's worst nightmare being brought to justice. Fighting back the tears, she said she was relieved to see him surrounded by police.

Several relatives of Breivik's victims wept as the evidence against him was read out.

Breivik will today begin to give his own version of the motives behind his attacks.

Norwegian television has refused to broadcast what he says.

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