Propped up outside Oslo’s central court on Tuesday, Eivind Thoresen reflected on all that he had heard in Anders Behring Breivik’s evidence. “It’s really hard to explain, but I feel really empty inside,” said the 26-year-old.
Almost nine months ago, Breivik blew Thoresen up when he was passing through Einar Gerhardsen’s Square, just a few minutes’ walk from the courtroom. Not that Thoresen could walk there now. Ever since the moment Breivik detonated the bomb in Oslo’s government district last July, Thoresen had to rely on crutches. He has just gone through his fifth operation after doctors found another metal splinter in his leg from the van Breivik had packed with explosives.
This week, Thoresen was in court when prosecutors showed harrowing CCTV footage that showed him literally being knocked off his feet.
“It’s really hard to see yourself getting blown away,” he said.
Thoresen said he was no closer to understanding Breivik’s motives. He was just an ordinary Norwegian in the wrong place at the wrong time. “He had a target, a political target. I was not one of them,” he said.
Families were keen to stress that the man who killed their loved ones had no legitimate mandate for what he did.
“I think it’s important to underline that we don’t view Breivik as a politician in this matter. He is a mass murderer,” said Trond Henry Blattmann, whose 17-year-old son, Torjus, was killed on Utoya.
Tore Sinding Bekkedal (26), who survived the Utoya attacks physically unscathed, said he appreciated the opportunity to get “a more detailed image of the defendant”. It was right to let Breivik read out his prepared statement, he said.
“Of course, it was incredibly boring and silly, but it is a major part of building up an image of his political views and his personality and so on and so forth,” Bekkedal said.
“It was predictable nonsense, the kind of stuff that you see all the time [in comment online]. I was almost glad to be bored at some points, because it is a sign that the normal court procedure is going on.” —