Monday 27 March 2017

He was just an ordinary, well-behaved boy, says Breivik's shocked stepmother

The stepmother of Anders Breivik said he was an apparently normal youth who showed no signs of what he was planning even in the months before the massacre.

Tove Oevermo said she kept in touch with Breivik even after she and his father divorced when he was a teenager.

"He was just an ordinary Norwegian, a well-behaved boy. You can't put all of this together really. I saw no sign of him being a person like he must have been," she said. "It's really such a shock."

Ms Oevermo married Breivik's father, Jens, when he was four. Breivik would often visit her and his father in France.

"He felt like a happy, normal child," the retired career diplomat said. "We had a very good connection, and we liked being together, even when he was a small child."

Ms Oevermo and Breivik's father divorced 10 years later, around the time Breivik claims, in his 1,500-page manifesto, that he became estranged from his father. Ms Oevermo (66) recalled the split, but declined to comment on what precipitated it. She did say, however, that she got the feeling Breivik wanted to have a relationship with his father, though he never spoke of their relationship.

After her divorce, Breivik kept in touch with Ms Oevermo via an occasional email, but she did not see him very often, she said.

She said she saw him last in March or April of this year when he visited her at her home south of Oslo. He was living with his mother in Oslo at the time.

She said Breivik didn't seem agitated during the visit and behaved normally.

In recent years, Breivik would often speak of a book he was writing, Ms Oevermo said. He was proud of the book, but was evasive about its contents. "He just told me he was trying to publish a book. He didn't say what about," she said.

In recent years, he was working on the book full-time. Before that she said he worked "odd jobs" and tried to establish various companies.

Breivik released a 1,500-page manifesto shortly before carrying out the deadly attacks. In the sprawling document, he details his hatred for the "cultural Marxists" who have allowed Muslims to immigrate to Europe. He claims his attack is part of a co-ordinated effort by a group calling itself the Knights Templar to rid Europe of Muslims and left-wing politics. Police are not sure such a group exists.

Breivik spoke about politics "like every normal person does, not more than that. He never touched Islam and this hatred for it he must have had," Ms Oevermo said.

"People say, 'I'm shocked'. They don't know what shock is all about, physically and psychologically. It was so unreal. I couldn't believe it. I refused to believe it," she said.

Irish Independent

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