23 Apr 2012

Mother speaks of anguish at Norway killer trial

10:18 pm on 23 April 2012

The mother of the New Zealand-born teenager killed in the Norway massacre last year has spoken of her anguish at hearing the testimony of her killer.

Anders Behring Breivik, 33, has admitted killing eight people in a bomb blast in Oslo and 69 young people at a summer camp on Utoeya Island on 22 July last year.

Among those on the island was 14-year-old Sharidyn Svebakk-Bohn, his youngest victim.

Her mother Vanessa Svebakk has attended the trial in Oslo every day, describing it as a constant reminder of every worst fear that a parent could have.

In her first interview with New Zealand media, she told Radio New Zealand's Morning Report programme that it had been gruelling listening to Breivik, but that she had to be there to represent her daughter.

"I have to be able to cope with the pain that I'm bearing sitting listening to him because that's nothing in comparison to the pain that she went through."

Breivik has been describing at his trial in Oslo how he shot people - some who were begging for their lives - in his rampage around the island.

Asked how she was able to cope with listening to Breivik, Ms Svebakk said she looked at the photo of her daughter so she does not have to look at her killer.

"While I'm looking at the photo I think about the story behind the photo, and the story behind the photo leads me to remember other memories that we have from our life with her."

She believes the court case will leave families with more questions than answers. "But I'm not following the court case to figure out what's in his head or why he did what he did," she said.

"We have come to a point where we have realised that there is some information we will never know - that that information died with her that day."

She says her daughter was kind and loving, enjoyed many sports and loved to swim.

Ms Svebakk says there has been constant media interest since July last year which has tested the family's patience, especially given they have two younger children who have a right to privacy.

The BBC reports Beivik admits killing all 77 victims but denies criminal responsibility, saying he was defending Norway from multiculturalism.