Friday 19 January 2018

Grieving families visit scene of Norway massacre

Victims' families went to Utoya, Norway, yesterday, to remember the dead.
Victims' families went to Utoya, Norway, yesterday, to remember the dead.

Richard Alleyne in Oslo

They came carrying flowers and candles, slowly dispersing over the tiny rain-sodden piece of land that was the last place their loved ones would have seen alive.

Hundreds of relations of those killed in the Norway massacre made their first pilgrimage to the island where Anders Behring Breivik committed the worst peacetime atrocity the country had seen.

Soon they had dotted it with shrines, each marking the exact final resting place of their sons, daughters and siblings with the help of police officers who identified each spot.

Psychiatrists were on hand to help those overwhelmed by the experience. For many it was a chance to make some sense of what happened.

Nearly a month ago Breivik, dressed as a policeman and armed with rifles and pistols, carried out his hour-long massacre, indiscriminately killing members of a youth camp on Utoya, a holiday island 35km from Oslo.

By the time he had finished, 69 lay dead, nearly half of whom were under the age of 18.

Forensic experts have combed the island to build a picture of the victims' final moments as they tried to hide, flee and even swim to safety. They brought Breivik back last week to re-enact his massacre to aid their investigation.

When no more facts could be gathered, officers spent the last week removing remnants, such as bullet cartridges, that were left on the island.

Yesterday, dressed in plastic ponchos to protect them from the rain, the 500 or so relations came to mourn the dead.

They were carried to the island on pontoons and ferries and a special station was set up by the waterside to provide information to the families of all those shot.

The mother of a 16-year-old victim named Andrine told Norwegian radio that it was a "difficult" day.

She said: "But the last weeks have been so difficult that this cannot possibly be any worse.

"At least we will be able to find the last spot where Andrine was alive. We can place flowers there and burn a candle."


The return to Utoya came as Breivik (32) was denied the right to be removed from solitary confinement.

A judge said there was "a considerable likelihood that he has a realistic opportunity" of tampering with evidence unless he was held in isolation.

It also emerged that the killer had phoned police twice to surrender before hanging up.

He told police: "My name is Commander Anders Behring Breivik in the Norwegian anti-communist resistance movement.

"I'm on Utoya currently. I want to surrender." Breivik will probably remain in solitary confinement until his trial next year. (© Daily Telegraph, London)

Irish Independent

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