OSLO (Reuters) – A young Norwegian told the court trying mass murderer Anders Behring Breivik on Thursday that he looked into the eyes of the killer before fleeing into the water around the island where 69 people, mostly teenagers, were gunned down last July.
“I stand right in front of him and look straight at him. I can see he has blue eyes,” high school student Lars Henrik Oeberg said calmly. “Then the shots came.”
Breivik, having already rampaged across the small island of Utoeya, where the ruling Labour Party was holding a youth camp, told Oeberg and others who had fled to the waterfront to wait for a boat and assured them “everything would be all right”.
Then he opened fire.
Oeberg managed to run into the water and swim away and saw Breivik shoot people some 20 or 30 m (yards) away.
“I come back up (after diving) and see Breivik stand there holding the weapon pointed at me. I don’t know why, but he turns around towards those lying down,” he said at the trial, which is expected to last to late June.
“When I turn around again I see a boy standing holding his head. Breivik goes back to him and shoots him in the head,” added Oeberg, one of three survivors who testified on Thursday.
Breivik has calmly listened to the descriptions of his killings and hardly shown any emotions, except when hearing descriptions about how he allegedly let out “cries of joy” and laughed while shooting, which he has denied.
Breivik has also wanted to ask questions of survivors, but the judge has said the questions must be put via his lawyer.
Breivik has admitted the killings, but denies criminal responsibility. He says he was defending Norwegian ethnic purity from Muslim immigration and the multiculturalism backed by the Labour Party.
Some tried to escape Breivik’s bullets by swimming the 1,000 m to the mainland in the freezing cold fjord lake. Oeberg said he survived after finding a lifebuoy floating in the water.
On Thursday, Breivik objected to one of the witnesses’ descriptions of him kicking a girl after shooting her.
“At no point did I touch anybody on the island except for (the first victim) Berntsen, whom I shook hands with,” he said.
Dressed in a black suit and tie, Breivik took notes on post-its during the autopsy reports in the morning session and politely looked at pictures of his victims on the ground. <^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^
SPECIAL REPORT-After Breivik: link.reuters.com/veh67s
Icy civility at horror trial grips world
(Editing by Michael Roddy)