• Norway's news in English
 
app_header_v3

Witnesses recall killer's ruse to get to Utøya

AFP · 3 May 2012, 17:30

Published: 03 May 2012 17:30 GMT+02:00

"You have a certain level of authority when you arrive in a police uniform," Simen Braeden Mortensen told the Oslo district court on the 11th day of the gunman's trial.

In charge of checking out anyone wanting to go to Utøya, where the ruling Labour Party's youth wing was hosting a summer camp, the young guard recalled how Breivik explained he had been sent as a routine precaution after Oslo's government district was hit by a bomb earlier the same day.

In fact, Breivik himself had set off that bomb, killing eight people.

Braeden Mortensen acknowledged he had been surprised to see the fake officer get out of a grey Fiat van rather than a police vehicle, but had been reassured to see his forged identity card from Norway's PST intelligence agency, which the right-wing extremist was carrying around his neck.

"I thought it was a legitimate police ID," the guard said, as the stony-faced confessed killer, 33, looked on.

After making it past the first control, Breivik was allowed to board the MS Thorbjørn ferry, which had been docked at Utøya after the Oslo attack but had been sent especially to pick up the fake police officer.

Ferry captain Jon Olsen explained in his highly anticipated testimony that he had helped the killer carry a crate which turned out to be full of ammunition.

He also described how he fled with the ferry when Breivik fired his first shots, as his companion, who was the second person shot, lay dead on the ground and his daughter was still stuck on the island.

"I spend most of my time asking myself if I could have acted differently. Each time, I reach the conclusions that I did the right thing," Olsen said.

He explained that the gunman in disguise did not act suspiciously.

"The uniform and all the rest made it look like everything was in order," he said.

But just after unloading the heavy crate that Breivik said was filled with explosive-detection equipment, Olsen saw him shoot and kill his first victim, the camp guard and off-duty police officer Trond Berntsen.

To this day, the ferry captain has trouble remembering if he, seconds later, saw Breivik turn his gun on his companion Monica Bøsei, the camp adminstrator who was considered the island "matriarch".

"I thought it was a training drill, but then on the other hand, I thought that I would have been informed," Olsen told the court.

In panic, he fled on foot, but after a long detour managed to get back to the MS Thorbjørn and took off with several other people who had sought refuge onboard.

Story continues below…

"I had to get the boat far from there," out of reach of Breivik's bullets, he explained.

"It was totally quiet. I thought that the sky would soon be filled with helicopters, that the fjord would be covered with boats and flashing lights, but no, nothing," he said.

Breivik spent more than an hour striding around the small island, executing most of his mainly teenaged victims with shots to the head, before he was finally arrested.

After receiving word that his daughter was alive, Olsen contributed to the rescue operation on the island, and helped shuttle injured and dead to the mainland.

While Breivik has confessed to carrying out the twin attacks, he refuses to plead guilty, insisting his attacks were "cruel but necessary" to stop the Labour Party's "multicultural experiment" and the "Muslim invasion" of Norway and Europe.

Your comments about this article

Today's headlines
No distress call in Norway helicopter crash
The pilots reportedly gave an "everything okay" update shortly before the crash. Photo: Torstein Bøe / NTB scanpix

The pilots in Friday’s fatal helicopter crash did not send out a distress call before the aircraft went down, indicating that there was no time to react.

Norway's oil fund to take on executive pay controversy
If the fund takes a stance on executive pay, it could be felt in corner offices around the world. Photo: Iris/Scanpix

Norway could greatly influence the global debate on CEO salaries with a change to its investment strategies.

Looming strike could paralyse Norway public services
Representatives of the four large trade union confederations and state representative Gisle Norheim (centre). Photo: Berit Roald / NTB scanpix

The state is "very far" from a labour agreement with some 100,000 public employees.

All 13 on board die in Norway helicopter crash
Rescue crews reported no signs of survivors. Photo: Marit Hommedal/Scanpix

UPDATED: Eleven dead bodies have been recovered and the two remaining people are presumed dead.

Modern-day Norwegian Viking conquers Instagram
A throw-back photo before the beard and hair reached their full potential. Photo: Lasse Matberg/Instagram

Hot enough to melt snow, this apparent reincarnation of Thor has captured hearts the world over.

Norway's sovereign fund posts negative return
Yngve Slyngstad, CEO of Norges Bank Investment Management. Photo: Terje Pedersen / NTB scanpix

Norway's sovereign wealth fund, the world's biggest, posted a negative return in the first quarter after being tapped by the government to balance its budget for the first time ever.

Philippine troops attack Norwegian hostage's captors
Norwegian resort manager Kjartan Sekkingstad (right) in a still from a previous video released by SITE. Photo: Screen Grab

Philippine warplanes on Thursday attacked Islamic militants holding a Norwegian and 19 other foreign hostages.

Norway vows to change child welfare practices
Minister of Children and Equality Solveig Horne has announced a series of changes to how the Norwegian Child Welfare Service operates. Photo: Håkon Mosvold Larsen / NTB scanpix

Following global protests, Norway prepares changes and reviews of the Child Welfare Service (Barnevernet).

Statoil tops expectations to stay in the black
The Statoil headquarters in Fornebu. Photo: Terje Pedersen / NTB scanpix

Norwegian oil giant Statoil held up better against lower oil prices than expected.

Philippines vows military strike on Norwegian's captors
The Abu Sayyaf terrorists have killed one captive and have threatened to kill the others, including Norwegian Kjartan Sekkingstad (right). Photo: NTB Scanpix

Following the execution of a Canadian hostage, Philippine President Benigno Aquino says he will 'neutralize' the terrorists still holding a Norwegian and up to 20 others.

Sponsored Article
How to launch your international career
All 13 on board die in Norway helicopter crash
National
All 13 on board die in Norway helicopter crash
Sponsored Article
What's the best way for expats to transfer money abroad?
National
Norway violated mass murderer's human rights: court
Norway to allow gay church weddings
Society
Church of Norway to allow same-sex weddings
Norway to allow gay church weddings
Society
Church of Norway to allow same-sex weddings
For first time, majority in Norway don’t believe in God
Society
For first time, majority in Norway don’t believe in God
Norway preps 'breakthrough' on gender change
Health
Norway preps 'breakthrough' on gender change
Breivik says he'll fight 'to the death' for Nazism
National
Breivik says he'll fight 'to the death' for Nazism
Sponsored Article
Retiring abroad: ensuring your health is covered
National
Memo: Norway 'not mentally prepared' for refugees' impact
Norway is the world's fourth happiest country
Society
Norway is the world's fourth happiest country
Norway moves closer to allowing dual citizenship
National
Norway moves closer to allowing dual citizenship
Sponsored Article
Why expats choose International Health Insurance
Politics
Norway's tough asylum plans face resistance
National
'Patriot' group Soldiers of Odin debut in Norway
National
Oslo is the real ‘Capital of Scandinavia’
Health
Norway ads use Hitler teddy bear to scare parents... about dust
National
Migrants: Norway 'sending us to death' in Russia
Norway under fire over tough new asylum plans
Health
Norway doctors push plan for 'tobacco-free generation'
2,100
jobs available