Norway suspect's father 'in shock': paper

24th July 2011, Comments 0 comments

The father of the young man suspected of single-handedly killing 93 people in Norway's worst post-war tragedy has told of his shock as he came across his son's picture on the Internet.

Retired diplomat Jens Breivik described his son Anders Behring Breivik, who he said he has not seen since he was 15 or 16, as an "ordinary boy."

"I was reading the news on the Internet and suddenly I saw his name and picture," Breivik senior told Norway's Verdens Gang newspaper.

"I am in a state of shock, it's absolutely horrific to hear that," added Breivik, who is divorced from the suspect's mother and currently lives in the south of France.

"We never lived together but we had some contact during his childhood," he said.

"When he was younger, he was an ordinary boy but not very communicative. He was not interested in politics at the time."

His wife Wanda spoke briefly outside the couple's villa in Cournanel near Limoux, southern France, on Sunday where dozens of journalists gathered outside the gates.

"We've had a horrible night. I haven't slept. My husband left this morning for Spain," she said tearfully in what turned out to be a red herring.

The public prosecutor in the nearby town of Carcassonne said later police had been deployed outside the house in which both Jens Breivik and his wife were currently staying for their safety.

Questioned by AFP whether the police presence was part of the investigation or following a request by Norwegian authorities to question Jens Breivik prosecutor Antoine Leroy said police officers were meant to "avert any incident or disturbance, which is normal and legitimate".

Wanda Breivik said she had never met her hudband's son, according to a Norwegian television reporter's translation.

Anders Behring Breivik, 32, was arrested following the twin attacks which left 93 people dead on Friday and sent shockwaves through the usually peaceful country.

The suspect confirmed having set the car bomb that killed seven in Oslo's government quarters and gone on a shooting spree during a Labour Party summer camp on a nearby island that claimed 86 lives.

Behring Breivik, who described in a manifesto released on the Internet how he had planned the attacks over years, told police he acted alone in what would be one of the worst acts of violence by a single man in recent memory.

The suspect mentions his father in the tract, who he says was a diplomat posted to London and Paris and who remarried after his birth, while his mother married a soldier who became his stepfather.

He wrote that his biological father and his wife had asked for custody of the boy but were prevented by the Norwegian courts.

"I had a good relationship with him and his new wife ... until I was 15.

"I still have contact with (her) until this day but have not spoken to my father since he isolated himself when I was 15 (he wasnt very happy about my graffiti phase from 13-16...".

In the manifesto he said his biological parents were both Labour Party supporters.

Shocked residents of the quiet village of Cournanel, home to around 650 inhabitants, said they did not know Jens Breivik or his son.

French police were now guarding the couple's villa, but locals said they had only recently moved to the house.

© 2011 AFP

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