Thursday 21 September 2017

Victims relive massacre and struggle to survive

Richard Orange in Malmo

Some in the courtroom in Oslo were moved to tears by the evidence of Marius Hoft (18), as he described having to jump over several bodies to get to the cliff face on Utoya island where he hid from the killer. "I started crying but decided to wait with the tears until I was safe," he said. "I wanted to survive, and thought about my mother."

Another witness, Frida Holm Skoglund (20), was so affected by her ordeal that she asked Breivik (33) to leave the court before she would speak. He viewed proceedings via a video link from an adjoining room.

Wearing a headband made of daisies, she described in a low voice how she had pulled a bullet from her leg before leaping into the water to swim 600 yards to the mainland. "I touched my thigh and felt something sharp there," she said. "I pulled it out and I saw, I felt the bullet," she said.

She had run to the southern tip of the island, leapt into the water and swum. When she turned around, she saw that those who had hesitated had been shot dead.

Attack

Ms Skoglund made it to the mainland, despite an asthma attack and calls of "come back here" from Breivik.

Another victim, Lars Gronnestad (20), recounted how he had hidden under trees, his lung punctured by a bullet, smearing soil on his face to prevent himself being seen.

"I remember thinking I can't just lie here, I need to get away, this is too open," he said of his decision to find cover. "While I was looking for somewhere to go I was thinking who this could be? A right-wing extremist, left-wing extremist, a coup d'etat, what it could be?"

Ane Kollen Evenmo (17) revealed how she had mistaken Breivik for a policeman and waved at him, drawing attention to the boat on which she and a group of others had escaped, and attracting a hail of bullets.

The victims told the court of their difficulties coming to terms with what happened.

Ms Skoglund said she still felt guilty about the deaths of members of the delegation she had led to the Labour Party youth camp on the island.

"Things are going okay," said Mr Gronnestad. "I react somewhat to loud sounds."

The witness statements are expected to take up much of the fourth week of Breivik's trial for the murder of 77 people in Oslo, and the nearby island of Utoya, last July. (©Daily Telegraph, London)

Irish Independent

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