19 Apr 2012

Breivik 'very surprised' to survive day of massacre

8:30 am on 19 April 2012

Norwegian mass killer Anders Behring Breivik has told his trial in Oslo he was "very surprised" to have survived the day of the attacks last year when he mowed down 77 people.

Breivik killed 69 people at a Labour Party youth camp on Utoeya island last July, having first set off a bomb outside a government building in Oslo that killed eight people. He has said he carried out the attacks to defend "ethnic Norwegians" from rising multiculturalism.

"I was very surprised that I survived that day," he told the court on Wednesday.

"I had no other plans for what to do. I considered the chance less than 5% that I would survive the bombing. But not only that, I survived Utoeya."

On the third day of the trial he also said there can be only two "just" outcomes to his trial - acquittal or the death penalty. He said he considered a lengthy jail sentence a pathetic punishment.

Norway does not have the death penalty.

The court is seeking to establish whether Breivik is sane and can be jailed.

Claim of far-right network questioned

Prosecutors have been quizzing Breivik on his links with militant nationalists, trying to disprove his claim of the existence of a far-right European network.

Earlier, he said the far-right network, which he named as the Knights Templar, met in London to decide on its platform. He said the group was "not an organisation in a conventional sense" but consisted of "independent cells".

A lawyer for the victims has also questioned Breivik about his religious beliefs.

"Well, I am a militant Christian," he replied. "To prevent the de-Christianisation of Europe is very important.

"But this does not mean we want to introduce a Christian theocracy. We are not Christian fundamentalists. I believe in God and I believe in a life after death."

Answering questions from a judge he described himself as an "anti-Nazi".