As Norwegian police prepared to question Anders Behring Breivik again today, the killer’s British ‘mentor’ denounced the Norwegian’s actions as ‘pure evil.
Behring Breivik will be questioned again on Friday after new information emerged relating to his killing spree, as prosecutors warned he would not go on trial before 2012.
This will be the second time that police interrogate the far-right extremist since Saturday, the morning after his shooting rampage on Utoeya island and the bomb blast in downtown Oslo that killed 76 people altogether.
Police official Paal-Fredrik Hjort Kraby said officers will question Behring Breivik on “information received over the last few days — which is a lot,” although he did not elaborate.
European counter-terrorism experts met in Brussels to look at lessons that can be drawn from the attacks, and an Oslo gun club said Behring Breivik had been a member since 2005.
INDICTMENT WON’T BE READY THIS YEAR
But as the depth and complexity of the investigation spread, the country’s highest legal officer said it would take time to sift through the evidence.
“We hope that we can conduct the court trial in the course of next year,” the Norwegian king’s prosecutor general Tor Aksel Buschhe said, adding that Behring Breivik’s indictment “will not be ready before the end of the year.
The possibility that the killer had been working with other people was receding, officials said, despite an international intelligence probe.
The possibility “has become weaker over time,” police spokesman Henning Holtaas told AFP, although “we are checking all his communications.”
He would not confirm that Behring Breivik was carrying a walkie-talkie radio on Utoeya island, where he shot dead 68 mostly young people, but two witnesses have said he was.
“He was dressed like a policeman. He had all the equipment — the walkie-talkie, the arms, everything,” 15-year-old survivor Jo Granli Kallset told AFP.
Locals have speculated that the device may have been nothing but a prop in his policeman’s disguise.
Behring Breivik boasted before the attack in a 1,500-page manifesto that he was one of up to 80 “solo martyr cells” recruited across western Europe to topple governments tolerant of Islam.
Norway’s intelligence service has been liaising with counterparts in Europe and the United States but has found nothing to verify the gunman’s claims of active cells forming a terror “organisation”.
Norway’s intelligence services chief Janne Kristiansen told AFP the possibility the killer had acted as a “lone wolf” could make it more difficult for police to uncover his trail.
“He has done this very carefully and meticulously and so far he has succeeded in avoiding any radar, or radar of the secret services.”
‘STRONGER COUNTER-TERRORISM ACTION NEEDED’
European Union terrorism experts meeting in Brussels warned that the bloodbath in Norway, which they said was almost “impossible to prevent”, underlined the need for stronger European counter-terrorism action.
And in Poland, foreign minister Radoslaw Sikorski asked the prosecution to pursue authors of hate speech, saying the Norway carnage clearly illustrated the dangers.
The events “show that the line between words and actions is sometimes very fine,” he said in a letter cited by the PAP news agency.
“One can clearly see that hate speech can lead directly to an unimaginable tragedy.”
Police are still searching the waters around Utoeya and the bombing site in downtown Oslo for missing persons, although they said Thursday that the land search on the island had ended.
Officials did not revise their tolls from the two attacks. Eight people died in an initial car bomb blast in central Oslo.
Norwegian police on Thursday released the identities of 24 more people, aged between 14 and 30, all but one of whom were killed on Utoeya island.
The list included one Georgian, and brought the total number of confirmed dead whose names have been made public to 41.
Survivor Emma Martinovic recounted in a blog that: “I heard the bastard laugh, I heard him shout ‘you won’t get away’.”
The 18-year-old continued: “All of a sudden, we saw everybody running, nobody said anything but everybody ran. I grabbed Aase (a friend) and told her: ‘run’, and everybody started shouting: ‘run! run!’.”
The teenager describes jumping in the water and swimming away from the island as friends were mowed down around her, before finally reaching a boat with other survivors on board.
Testimonials started emerging Thursday of a lost generation of future Norwegian political leaders brutally cut down.
These included Anders Kristiansen, an 18-year-old whose mother said he “dreamed of becoming prime minister since the age of five,” and whose shining talent was lauded by Norwegian Foreign Minister Jonas Gahr Stoere in the national press.
‘MENTOR’ SLAMS ATTACKS AS ‘PURE EVIL’
A British man cited by gunman Anders Behring Breivik as his “mentor” denounced the Norwegian’s actions as “pure evil” and “did not equate to anything I am involved in.”
Speaking to The Times newspaper, Paul Ray admitted he may have been the inspiration behind Behring Breivik’s massacre of 76 people, but said he had rejected the attacker’s Facebook friend request because he “didn’t like the look of him”.
Ray, 35, is the leader of a Knights Templar movement inspired by the actions of medieval crusaders against Islam and runs a “Richard the Lionhearted” blog which is believed to have underpinned Behring Breivik’s 1,500 page online manifesto.
“I am being implicated as his mentor,” said Ray, who left Britain for Malta in 2008 after he was arrested for allegedly inciting racial hatred on his blogsite.
“I definitely could have been his inspiration,” he conceded. “He has given me a platform and a profile but what he did was pure evil. I could never use what he has done to further my own beliefs.”
Behring Breivik posted pictures of himself dressed in the Knights Templar uniform and described a man similar to Ray as his “mentor” after he claimed to have met him at an event in 2008.
Ray is a former activist for the English Defence League (EDL), which campaigns against Islamic extremism in Britain.
The group denied in a statement late Sunday that it had any “official contact” with the 32-year-old mass murderer despite Behring Breivik’s claims that he had been in touch with them.
“We can categorically state that there has never been any official contact between him and the EDL, our Facebook page had 100,000 supporters and receives tens of thousands of comments each day,” it said in a statement.
“And there is no evidence that Breivik was ever one of those 100,000 supporters.”
It claimed the Norwegian had in fact talked about the EDL in a negative light, saying: “It couldn’t be made any clearer that Breivik did not like the way that EDL was a peaceful organisation.”