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Breivik 'came across as depressed'

Former friends of confessed Norwegian mass killer Anders Behring Breivik said that some years before the massacre he came across as depressed, expressed feminine tendencies and led some to believe he might be gay.

Four of the right-wing fanatic's old male friends told the Oslo District Court that five years before he killed 77 people in 2011, he moved back in with his mother and cut down on his social contacts.

The friends testified at Breivik's trial as the defendant watched in an adjoining room.

One former friend, who is now a lawyer in the military, said Breivik had shown "feminine behaviour and used makeup" and did not have many long-lasting relationships with women.

"I believed he was in a deep depression or that he was a homosexual who did not want to come out in public about it," he said.

Breivik has confessed to the July 22 massacre, in which he gunned down 69 people at a youth retreat on Utoya island after setting off a bomb in central Oslo that killed eight others.

But he denies criminal guilt, saying the victims had betrayed their country by embracing immigration.

His mental state is the key issue to be resolved during the trial. If found guilty and criminally sane, he would face 21 years in prison, though he could be held longer if deemed dangerous to society.

If declared insane, he would be committed to compulsory psychiatric care.

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