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Norwegian Gunman Planned to Decapitate Former PM

Accused Norwegian Anders Behring Breivik arrives at the courtroom, in Oslo, Norway, April 17, 2012.

Accused Norwegian Anders Behring Breivik arrives at the courtroom, in Oslo, Norway, April 17, 2012.

The Norwegian gunman on trial for killing 77 people last year has testified he had planned to behead Norway’s former prime minister. Anders Behring Breivik said he planned to film the beheading and post the video online.

Judge Wenche Elizabeth Arntzen opened the fourth day of proceedings by inviting prosecutors to continue their examination of the defendant. What followed was a series of revelations by Breivik about how he planned his attacks.

On July 22, 2011 he detonated a car bomb in Norway’s capital, Oslo, before travelling to a nearby island where he shot dead 69 people before he was arrested by police.

Twisted plan

Norway’s former prime minister, Gro Harlem Brundtland, was visiting the island, where members of the youth wing of the Labour Party were holding a summer camp, but left before Breivik arrived. Had she been there, Breivik said he planned to capture and decapitate her. He said he wanted to kill all 600 people who were on the Island.

He also told the court he had initially planned to set off a series of bombs, but realized that this would be too difficult. Instead, he decided to explode one bomb and then carry out a second attack “based on a firing operation.”


Norwegian professor and international-law expert Morten Bergsmo explained how the admissions will impact his trial.

"It underlines the seriousness of his intent, but the crimes that he allegedly has committed are more than serious enough for him to get the maximum penalty so it may not be very significant," he said.

Breivik said he used computer games to prepare for the attack, including Modern Warfare and World of Warcraft, which he played for hours on end.


A far-right extremist, Breivik said his killing spree was designed to protect Norway from multi-culturalism. He has described the attacks as “spectacular” and says he is not guilty of any criminal act.

A key component of the trial is to decide on Breivik’s sanity during the attack.

"So far, many media observers in Norway seem to be of the opinion that he does not come across as mentally not capable of responsibility," said Bergsmo.

Breivik has said an insanity ruling would be “worse than death”.

Karl Ritter, the Stockholm Bureau Chief for the Associated Press, explained that "Breivik does not want to be found criminally insane because he views himself as a political activist, and an insanity ruling would destroy his political argument.”

If the court rules that Breivik is guilty and sane he will serve a maximum 21-year sentence, which could be extended if he were considered a continued danger.

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